Bananas on target to help reef

Growers from about 90 North Queensland banana farms, or just over half of the region’s production area, are now using the online version of the industry’s environmental guidelines.

The banana industry’s strong take-up of the Best Management Practices Environmental Guideline (BMP) means the industry is inline to reach a target in its current Strategic Investment Plan.
The target is for more than half of Australia’s banana production area to be engaged in using the BMP by 2019.
The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) is urging all North Queensland growers to use the BMP to ensure the industry continues to play its role in meeting reef health targets.
The BMP was launched in June 2013 and so far, farms covering 54 per cent of Australia’s major banana production area in North Queensland are using the online version. There are also about 15 growers in New South Wales growing regions using the guidelines.
ABGC Chairman Doug Phillips said: “We have 280 banana farms in North Queensland and are confident we can further increase BMP usage.”
“We are also managing a Queensland Government-funded project that will provide an app that growers can use on devices to make it easier to record and analysis information on farm practices.”
Mr Phillips said that although the banana industry represented less than one percent of land use in the wet tropics region it had to continue to achieve improvements in environmentally-sustainable farm practices and be an active supporter of reef health initiatives.
The importance of all primary producers’ take-up of their industry BMPs was further emphasised when a Queensland Government reef report card was released in September. State Environment Minister Steven Miles said it was a disappointing C-Minus for reef health.