After a few tough years, major Australian marketing company MacKays says the banana industry is now in a good position to start looking to the future.
"There's been three years of tough banana pricing and I think it is has been very easy to get into a mindset of being a bit too focused on the short term," MacKays Banana Marketing chief executive Richard Clayton said. "Granted, it was a very tough time, but I think the industry is a lot more buoyant now, so we have to start investing, start thinking about innovation and thinking about the future"
He was pleased by the number of growers that attended this year's Australian Banana Industry Congress on the Gold Coast, saying there's a good balance between the presentations, aimed at progressing the industry.
"There's been a lot of people talking about innovation and looking at the next thing," Mr Clayton said. "We are really now at a point where we need to really start investing back in our businesses and moving forward."
One of the key themes of the congress was "adapt", and Mr Clayton admits there are several pressures growers will have to take into account.
"The challenges ahead include the government managing and influencing fertilizer input," he said. "Also, consumers seem to be dictating they want less plastics in packaging. We need to be listening to this and taking another look at the things that we have come to take for granted. We need to start looking for alternative packaging, alternative farming methods; for instance we've heard about compost at the congress. There are many 2019 solutions out there that we've need to start investigating."
MacKays Marketing is a family owned business, owned by the MacKay and Howe families, with a national footprint, supplying bananas, papaya and avocado.
"We couldn't do that without the support of the 13 other growers that we work closely with," Mr Clayton said. "We are proud to represent Australian Farming Families in the marketplace."