Growers’ e-bulletin – 26 May, 2020

26 May, 2020


Carnarvon banana growers count cost of ex Tropical Cyclone Mangga

Coles adds fair farms certification to ethical sourcing program

COVID-19 Visas

Panama TR4 educational video

Meet Kathy Grice, DAF researcher

DAF – ‘open for business’ and just a phone call away

Carnarvon banana growers count cost of ex Tropical Cyclone Mangga

Production in the Carnarvon banana growing region of Western Australia is forecast to drop by up to 30 % as a result of crop damage from ex Tropical Cyclone Mangga.

The out-of-season storm wreaked havoc on the south coast of Western Australia on Sunday, with dust, wind and rain leaving a trail of destruction.

Doriana Mangili, ABGC Director and Carnarvon Sweeter Banana Cooperative business manager, said the damage bill was expected to be between $1.5 and $3 million.

She said the cyclone was the first natural disaster to impact the Carnarvon banana industry in five years.

Growers will be able to apply for compensation through the APC Carnarvon Banana Producers Committee, with damage assessments getting underway on Thursday.

View footage from the ‘once in a decade’ event here 

Coles adds fair farms certification to ethical sourcing program

Coles has announced that growers no longer have to use internationally recognised Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) to supply the supermarket. 

Growers supplying Coles can now alternatively register with Fair Farms to satisfy the requirements of the Coles Ethical Sourcing Program, which sets out detailed standards for treatment of workers in the supply chain that suppliers are required to follow and demonstrate their compliance. 

Growcom developed the Fair Farms Certification Program with support from the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Federal Department of Agriculture and AUSVEG.

Coles General Manager of Produce Craig Taylor said adopting Fair Farms Certification meant farmers now had another way to become approved under the Coles Ethical Sourcing Program, which also uses Sedex.

Read the full Coles media release here


COVID-19 Visas

A COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa has been made available within the existing Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa to temporary visa holders in Australia with expiring visas who:

·       Are unable to depart and are not eligible for any other visa; or 

·       Have evidence from an employer that they have ongoing work in a critical sector, e.g. farming

For temporary visa holders in Australia, where the visa is about to cease and they are unable to return home or apply for another visa, the COVID-19 visa is available as a visa of last resort

In these circumstances, the visa will be granted for a period suitable for the individual’s circumstances up to a maximum period of six (6) months.


Panama TR4 educational video

The Panama TR4 Program has created a short video (8 mins) for people who do a job on or around a banana farm, with some clear messages about minimising the spread of Panama TR4.

It offers some practical tips on planning ahead and on best practice decontamination.  

Watch the video here or download a fact sheet here

If you need any other educational tools to support you to protect your farm from Panama TR4, contact Rebecca Breaden on 07 4091 8140  or email

Meet Kathy Grice, DAF researcher

The banana industry is fortunate to have a number of scientists and researchers working behind the scenes to protect our industry. 

A key member of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries team is Kathy Grice, Senior Experimentalist (Plant Pathology), based at Mareeba. 

Kathy has been working in plant pathology for the past 33 years, with the primary objective of her work to ensure exotic plant pathogens are not present in our industry. 

She played a key role in the black Sigatoka response that resulted in the successful eradication of the disease in far north Queensland in the early to mid 2000s. 


DAF – ‘open for business’ and just a phone call away

The DAF research and extension team continues to support the industry, conducting research trials and offering extension support. 

The front offices at South Johnstone and Mareeba remain closed but the team continues to offer ad hoc diagnostic (visual and lab identification) support in both locations, support to work through implementing or improving your on-farm biosecurity practices and answering grower questions.

Contact the DAF research team Stewart Lindsay (07 4220 4120), Tegan Kukulies (07 4220 4152), Shanara Veivers (07 4220 4149) or Ingrid Jenkins (07 4220 4108), or e-mail