Banana industry recognises best of the bunch

The Australian banana industry tonight recognised some of its brightest stars, with five people receiving an Award of Honour at the Banana Ball.

The Awards of Honour, handed out as part of the biennial Banana Congress, are given to those who have made a significant contribution to the banana industry, often over many years.

“The five people who received an Award of Honour tonight represent some of the best attributes of our industry – they’re innovative, willing to share ideas and passionate about what they do,” said Congress Chair Paul Inderbitzin. “I congratulate them on receiving this acknowledgement and look forward to working with them into the future.”

2019 Award of Honour recipients:

Peter Molenaar

Peter Molenaar has grown bananas in northern NSW for nearly 40 years. Peter has made a significant contribution to the banana industry at local and national levels, including serving on the ABGC Board for a decade. He’s still involved in a number of crucial committees and is a current member of the Banana Marketing Strategic Industry Investment Advisory Panel and the Tweed Banana Growers’ Association executive.

Stephen and Gavin Mackay

The Mackay name is synonymous with leadership, innovation and adaptation. Cousins Stephen and Gavin manage Mackay’s Bolinda Estate farm in Tully. Together, they have generously given their time to share with industry and stakeholders how they have innovated in the face of adversity and continue to farm with TR4.

Ian Liddle

Liddles Aerial Spraying is Australia’s first and only third generation aerial application business.  Founded by Ian’s father, Norm, it helped pioneer aerial services to rural Australia in the 1950s. Ian Liddle, a former banana grower himself, has continued his father’s legacy and has been instrumental in developing aerial spraying of north Queensland bananas.

Les Blennerhassett

Les, who started out as a banana farmer wanting to solve produce transport issues, is a founder and director of Blenners Transport. Blenners Transport have been getting fresh bananas to market for three decades.  One the largest family-owned road and rail operators, Blenners Transport ensures North Queensland bananas get to markets in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.