Cyclone Niran impacted banana farms nearing full production

After the winds from cyclone Niran devastated the Capricorn Coast's banana industry in early March, several banana farms are now getting back to full production. At the time, hundreds of hectares of banana trees across the Cassowary Coast and Northern Tablelands were impacted, with some properties around Innisfail reporting up to 100 per cent losses.

In wake of the devastating event, the Morrison government announced a $5 million Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Grant that would support affected producers, promising $75,000 to impacted growers in the far North.

In early 2021, Cowley cavendish banana and sugarcane grower Mark Nucifora, Fiorito Bananas, said his farm was in a good position, despite fluctuations in the market. Mark said operation was at full production, until strong winds from tropical cyclone Niran devastated his property. Nucifora estimates he lost 90 per cent of his crop that day and having experienced the devastation of TC Larry and Yasi in the past, he immediately knew that recovering from Niran would be costly.

"When the winds of Cyclone Niran came, it was very unexpected. We just didn't know that winds of that magnitude were going to hit us that morning," Nucifora said. "Initially, there's a lot of shock, and there's a fair bit of devastation in that. We have about 20 or 30 staff, and for the first few weeks, their sole job was just cleaning up the farm so that we could get back to a regular routine of growing the bananas. Before the winds devastated the area, we were packing four to five semi-trailers a week. Two weeks after the winds, we were down to one semi every two weeks."


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