Growers’ e-bulletin – August 18, 2017


18 August, 2017

 Biosecurity a focus of latest banana benchmarking

Hort Innovation has commissioned the next round of benchmarking in the Australian banana industry with a major focus on biosecurity investment and strategies employed by growers.

The collection of data for the past two financial years, ending June 30, 2017, is about to commence across the industry by Howard Hall of Pinnacle Agribusiness (formerly CDI Pinnacle Management). Pinnacle Agribusiness has previously completed four years of benchmarking data collection and reporting in the banana industry. 

The next round of benchmarking will focus specifically on:

1. Collating and providing a comprehensive profile of the impact, commitment and investment being made by growers to biosecurity and the impacts this is having on business costs and performance.

2. Providing an up-to-date profile of financial and operational information from which growers, industry, researchers and supply chain partners can identify the most relevant and impacting factors affecting both industry and individual business performance.

3. Using this new information to build on the findings of past rounds of benchmarking, resulting in a huge industry data set covering six years. Growers can use this information to assist them to improve their businesses.

There are no other industries in Australian horticulture with an information resource comparable to this.

Howard Hall will be contacting and visiting growers from September. If you wish to participate or would like to discuss and contribute in order to maximise the value and relevance of the next data collection please call Howard Hall on 0412 674083 or email




Marketing presentation

Tableland and Lakeland banana growers are invited to join the ABGC Board for a presentation by Hort Innovation on Digital Marketing of bananas in Mareeba next Thursday (Aug 24).

The talk will be delivered and discussed by service provider Emile Van Schalkwyk, from IKON, and Banana Marketing Manager Elisa King.

Hort Innovation receives growers’ banana marketing levy funds to promote bananas across a variety of media platforms. Come and hear first-hand how your marketing levy is working for you in the digital world.

The presentation will be held from 5.30pm-6.30pm at the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, John Charles Room, Block A, First Floor, 28 Peters Street, Mareeba.

Following the presentation growers are invited to join the ABGC Board for dinner at the Gateway Hotel, 123 Byrnes Street, Mareeba. Please RSVP to Hilary to confirm booking numbers on (07) 3278 4786 or email


New banana marketing burst

After a highly successful six-month marketing period for Australian Bananas, the brand is set for another huge push in the second half of 2017.

The next burst of television advertising will hit our screens in late August/early September, with commercials running in all major metro markets across high-rating programs like “The Block” and “Australian Survivor”.

We’ll also see bananas hit our big screens, with 15 second commercials screening at movie cinemas across the country, giving major exposure to Australian Bananas beyond the traditional TV audience.

We will again start to see banana marketing pop up on buses, in supermarkets, in gyms and on billboards nationally. This targeted out of home investment is a strong component of Australian Bananas’ marketing strategy and amounts to almost 30 per cent of the total July-December media investment. 

Online advertising activity will run from the end of August to mid-November and, as always, social media will deliver a huge degree of branding and visibility throughout the year.


NextGen NT tour

Are you an enthusiastic grower with a positive outlook on the future of the Australian Banana industry? Are you interested in visiting the Panama disease Tropical Race 4 variety trial site in the Northern Territory?

And, are you also interested in networking at the Nuffield Australia National Conference in Darwin?

These are all things the NextGen group are proposing to take part in during a three-night trip to the NT from September 19-22. This activity will be organised as part of the National Banana Development and Extension Project and some funding support will be available, however be prepared to fund the cost of your involvement.

If you are interested in participating then register your interest with Tegan Kukulies or 0459 846 053 by Friday, August 25. Numbers will be limited.


Panama TR4 update

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has provided an update on current biosecurity operations following the recent detection of Panama disease Tropical Race 4 on a second North Queensland farm.

·         Biosecurity Queensland’s Panama TR4 Program is working with the property owners to ensure it continues to trade with as minimal disruption as possible, without putting the rest of the industry at risk.

·         Staff are monitoring on-farm activity and assisting the property owners to contain the incursion.

·         Tracing investigations are underway to try and determine the source of the infestation.

·         Surveillance continues fortnightly on the affected property.

·         Surveillance is occurring on other properties that are linked to the affected property by ownership and shared machinery.

·         Authorised officers are checking fruit consignments to make sure no soil or plant material is being moved off the farm.

·         Panama education/training and information sessions have been scheduled with key stakeholders in the area. This is a free service and is available to all growers and or their workers and supply chain businesses. Training sessions are arranged to suit your needs. For more information phone 4091 8140.

·         Growers are reminded to check banana plants for symptoms of disease, early reporting and detection increases the viability of your farm. To report signs of disease phone 13 25 23.


Queensland export program

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has announced a two-year pilot program to assist businesses in the food supply chain to explore their export capabilities.

The Growing Queensland’s Food Exports Capability (GQFEC) program will invest $1.3 million into a discretionary grants program which will focus on food value chains which have strong market opportunities, building capability through market development support, supply chain facilitation, post-harvest quality and market research.

The program will provide matched funding of up to $100,000 (minimum of $50,000) over two years per eligible project. Applicants must co-contribute at least 50% of the total funds required.

Applications for the first round of program will open on September 1, 2017 and close on October 1, 2017. For further information contact Program Manager Jodie Campbell on 0467 735 036.

The Australian Government also offers a number of assistance programs to help growers explore export opportunities. These include;

·         Grants from $55,000 to $1.65 million to promote co-operation in accessing international markets. Applications close December 31, 2018 or until all funds have been allocated. For more information click on the link; Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation grant .

·         Funds for smaller exporters to improve market access across horticultural and other sectors. For more information; Package Assisting Small Exporters .

·         $25,000 matched funding for incubator services helping Australian start-ups to win international markets. The funding can be used to employ an ‘expert-in-residence’ for up to 12 months. For more information go to

·         The Supply Chain Facilitation Assistance program offers free access to a skilled advisor to strengthen supply chains and improve access to new markets. For more information phone 13 28 46.


WH&S workshop

Discover more about boosting your farm business’ health, safety and people management skills by signing up for a Workplace Essential workshop, to be held at South Johnstone in October.

Funded by the Queensland Government and facilitated by the Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN), the seminars have been specifically tailored for farm managers, team leaders and supervisors.

The full day workshop will include comprehensive information on people management and Workplace Health and Safety laws and regulations, including managing risks and hazards; performance and behaviour management; and how to handle conflict and workplace bullying.

The workshop will be held on October 17, 2017. For more information go to!event/2017/10/17/workplace-essentials-seminar-south-johnstone


Well-deserved accolade

Warmest congratulations to one of our keynote speakers at this year’s Congress, Rob Cook, who this week won the Australian Farmer of the Year Award for Excellence in Innovation.

The award was announced during the ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year awards ceremony at Parliament House on Wednesday.


Banana Magazine out soon!

Keep an eye on your mailboxes early next month for the latest edition of Australian Bananas magazine.

The Spring 2017 issue is currently in production and is packed with industry news including a full wrap of Congress, the Innisfail and Tully show banana exhibits and much, much more.


Banana boat pranks

We’d like to think the widely held superstition that bananas are bad luck on boats is complete bananas. But the theory certainly led to a good dose of karma for a Northern Territory fisherman who told his amusing banana tale to the ABC this week. See his full story on the link below.



This e-bulletin is produced by the Australian Banana Growers’ Council as a part of the Communications Project for the Banana Industry funded by HIA Ltd using the banana industry R&D levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.


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