Bundy banana crop mayhem

CROPS LOST: The Mackay Family banana farm, Bundaberg, March 2017, following ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie.
CROPS LOST: The Mackay Family banana farm, Bundaberg, March 2017, following ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie.

THE Mackay Family, have had at least 76% of fruit from their Bundaberg crop impacted by recent ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Ex-TCDebbie caused significant flash flooding and severe wind gusts, up to 125kmh, in the Bundaberg region.

According to grower and director, Daniel Mackay, their family has recently established around 130 acres of bananas in the region.

"Sadly, quite dramatic crop losses have been incurred to the majority of the standing bananas, and this means production will be dramatically lower for the next few months," Mr Mackay said .

"However, beyond June, this will improve to around a 30% reduction in fruit, and should return to normal by October."

While bananas aren't as plentiful as pre-Debbie, the Mackay family has managed to cushion the blow.

Their investment plan includes farming across diverse locations as a form of self insurance.

"Our customers insist on reliable supply, so farming our crops in geographically diverse locations is central to guarding against crippling weather events and at the same time is vital to protecting our stance on zero imports," Mr Mackay said.

"Zero imports guards the Australian banana industry on a number of levels, including helping to avoid the introduction of new plant diseases, and maintaining our ability to provide customers with the world's best bananas.

"Essentially, without our 'diverse-locations' approach, a large portion of Queensland's banana supply could have been wiped out during Debbie.

"However, supplies from our Lakeland and Tully farms will manage to meet consumer demand while damaged crops recover."

Mr Mackay said they had alternative measures in place to ensure the supply in times of natural disasters.

"Prior to Cyclone Debbie making landfall, our harvested fruit was transferred to southern Queensland (thanks to outstanding support from Blenners Transport) in anticipation of road flooding and delays," he said.

"Our team actively contacted all customers across the country and ensured no orders were missed."

Despite last month's losses, the Mackay family are looking forwards and are positive about rebuilding their Bundaberg operations and said they're lucky to not have suffered major infrastructure damage.

"Bundaberg is a new and integral part of our family's commitment to always supply Australians with premium, mouth-watering Australian bananas, and so our rebuilding efforts in that region are already underway," he said.

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