Growers’ e-bulletin – June 21, 2018


21 June, 2018


HARPS update
Terrain and MIP news
Congratulations to the Sciaccas
Bananas among best sellers
May marketing highlights
Trial a nitrogen trap
TR4 workshops well received
National Banana Roadshow dates

HARPS – Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme

Growers are reminded that, as a general rule, if your business packs loose product in final retail packaging, or if you do pre-packs for the main retailers, then you are requested to register your interest in achieving HARPS approval by 30 June 2018. You can do this via

The retailers involved are Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, Costco and IGA. The deadline for HARPS approval is 1 January 2019.

The Cassowary Coast Banana Growers’ Association and ABGC have had several interactions with the HARPS team with the aim of making the requirements clearer and more logical. As a result, there are to be minor changes.

Please check the above website for registration, a revised version of the Decision Graphic and the example template for growers, when available.

Terrain seeking construction services

Terrain NRM is seeking professional service contractors to join a pool of potential service providers for the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (MIP). Contractors would potentially deliver construction services to the MIP and must be based within the Tully and Johnstone catchment areas.

Key tasks and more information can be found here. EOI responses must be received before 5pm tomorrow (Friday 22nd June 2018).

More news from Terrain NRM and the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project in their latest newsletter here.

Another win for Eco Bananas

Congratulations to North Queensland growers Frank and Dianne Sciacca for taking home the Environmental Award at the National Awards for Excellence.

Announced last night at the Hort Connections Gala Dinner in Brisbane, the Sciaccas were among a number of outstanding finalists and winners.

Wonderful news for the Eco Bananas team and for all those who were recognised.

Bananas among best sellers

Banana sales have increased by a healthy 8.9 per cent compared to a year ago, according to the recently released Neilsen-Produce Plus Top 20 Products.

The Top 20 guide identified the best-selling fruit and vegetable products purchased by Aussie households for take-home consumption. The products were ranked based on dollar sales for the 52 weeks leading up to April 21 2018.

The data, compiled with Neilsen’s Homescan, showed more than 9 out of 10 Australian households purchased bananas in the past twelve months, despite higher prices during the period.

Bananas held a 7.3 per cent dollar share of fruit and vegetable sales, second only to tomatoes (7.4).  Potatoes and Apples followed with a 5.6 per cent share each.

May marketing highlights

Bananas continue to make their way into Aussie hearts and homes through a number of targeted campaigns. Here are the highlights for May:

Media activity

TV activity finished on April 21, ensuring we reached over 4 million grocery buyers. Digital activities hit all benchmarks, serving over 4 million impressions since the start of the campaign. Out of Home activities are continuing throughout June, so keep an eye out for more details next month!


Seven new pieces of coverage, featuring our fantastic banana recipes, were secured in May. To coincide with World Digestive Day, brand ambassador Susie Burrell wrote an article titled ‘How do you build a healthy gut?’ which included a number of references to bananas. This article was re-published in the Daily Mail and reached more than 3 million readers.

Events & Merchandising

Australian Bananas were involved in the 2018 Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon, with the last events taking place in Brisbane on May 20 and Townsville on May 29. Almost 14,000 participants took part in the series this year and more than 30,000 spectators attended to cheer on competitors. That’s a lot of exposure for bananas!

Over 15,000 banana cases were handed out to new mums in May as part of our Bounty Bags program. Recently, the Inderbitzin clan welcomed a new bub and received a Bounty Bag (above) of their own!

Hello, is it you we’re looking for?

ABGC is looking for a North Queensland banana grower who is willing to trial a nitrogen trap (N trap) on their farm.

The N trap is a trench filled with wood-chips, then covered over with soil to create a sealed, anaerobic (no oxygen) environment – ideal for the process of denitrification (nitrogen removal) by soil bacteria.

Under anaerobic conditions soil bacteria called ‘denitrifiers’ use the carbon in the N trap as their food source and nitrate in the water passing through the bioreactor as part of their respiration process. This creates a water treatment system, where nitrates in the ground water can be removed through the denitrification process within the trap.

This technology has been trialed widely in the United States with promising results. The NQ trial aims to determine whether this technology can work in a wet tropical environment.

This project will involve water quality monitoring prior to N trap installation to determine if the site is suitable.

For further information on this trial please contact Sarah Simpson on 07 4015 2797.

Left & Middle: N trap being installed on a SEQ pineapple farm with sampling PVC pipes protruding through the top of the trench for trap monitoring. Right: Completed SEQ N trap.

*All pictures are courtesy of Ian Layden from Queensland DAF.

Farming with Panama TR4 workshops well received

It was great to see so many members of the banana industry at the BQ-run Farming with Panama TR4 workshops held in Silkwood and Mareeba last week.

A warm thanks to Gavin and Stephen Mackay who volunteered their time to speak about their first-hand experiences in farming with Panama TR4 – their input was invaluable.

Thanks also to NextGen farmers Kris Horsford and Adam Gilbert who shared their views on what they learnt about  Panama TR4 in Darwin. You can view a video of the varieties being trialled for TR4 resistance here.

A key takeaway was that the main biosecurity requirement growers will need to meet is that no soil or plant material can come off an infested property and being prepared buys growers time.

Key messages delivered by Rhiannon Evans, BQ’s TR4 Program Leader, were about the need for zoning on an infested farm and the need for a clean access road.

If growers want to workshop some ideas around getting prepared for a detection, Biosecurity Queensland is offering on-site farm visits. Email phone 07 4091 8140 to book a visit.

For the diary: National Banana Roadshow

The six-stop National Banana Roadshow Series is again touring the country during July and August 2018. The fast-paced events will feature the latest research and development including information on banana varieties, soil health, pest and disease management, QBAN, environmental practices, benchmarking and marketing.

The dates are:

New South Wales

– Murwillumbah, Tuesday 24 July, Murwillumbah Services Club

– Coffs Harbour, Thursday 26 July, Coffs Harbour Showgrounds

Far North Queensland

– Tully, Thursday 9 August, Tully & District Senior Citizens Hall

– Innisfail, Friday 10 August, Innisfail Showgrounds

– Mareeba, Friday 17 August, Dept. of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy – John Charles room

Western Australia

– Carnarvon, Thursday 30 August, Carnarvon Yacht Club

Event organisers are urging growers and industry stakeholders to RSVP for these events. These are your levies at work! Come along and see how the latest research applies to your business.

You can register for the events through Eventbrite or by contacting your local industry extension officers.

For Queensland and WA events contact Shanara Veivers (DAF) at or phone/text 0400 870 731.

For NSW events contact Matt Weinert (NSW DPI) at  or phone/text 0438 644 136.

The strategic levy investment project National Banana Development and Extension Program BA16007 is part of the Hort Innovation Banana Fund. The project is funded by Hort Innovation using the banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Contact Details
It is important that ABGC is advised if you know of growers who are not receiving these e-bulletins or the Australian Banana magazine. We may have out of date email or postal addresses for these growers. Please email any updated contact details to:

Also, it is important for membership purposes that growers advise ABGC if they change trading name or their agent (wholesaler) or add one, and also to let their agent know.