New South Wales - Australia

Nambucca banana growers determined to bounce back

Banana growers in the Nambucca Valley are struggling to recover after suffering severe losses from the catastrophic Kian Rd fire. Guardian News previously reported on various growers losing multiple hectares of banana plants.

Returning to full production could take up to 18 months for most of these growers, after entire plantations were decimated in the destructive blazes, described as the worst in living memory. The road to recovery, both financially and emotionally, will be a long one, but almost all are determined to bounce back.

Everything associated with growing bananas has been burnt
David Cotton was travelling to Newcastle when fire tore through his 53 acre Yarranbella farm, on Friday, November 8. He returned to discover he'd lost everything. "It was exactly as I expected," he said. “I did have reports while I was in Newcastle of what had happened. I was told that it was a firestorm like you wouldn't believe. I was a bit hopeful about my (new) tractor, but as you've seen, it went. [I lost] everything. All the equipment. Everything associated with growing bananas has been burnt.”

"Worst [bushfire] I've ever seen, anywhere. On the Thursday afternoon my brother and myself went down along Kosekai Road to have a look at it, and it was going north, away from us on another opposite ridge. Apparently, Friday afternoon a strong wind came up and sent it back this way."

Sifting through rubble that used to be his shed, David estimated his losses at more than $250,000.

Support for banana growers affected by bushfires
A special Go Fund Me campaign has been established to raise much needed financial assistance.  The 'Banana Growers' Bushfire Appeal' Go Fund Me campaign is being run by Vicki McCudden, Chair of the Nambucca Banana Growers' Association. It has the support of the Nambucca and Cassowary Coast BGA's, as well as the Australian Banana Growers' Council.

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