Growers’ e-bulletin – January 29, 2021


29 January, 2021


Ongoing advocacy on workforce issues
Give feedback on new reef regs 
Australian Bananas marketing update
Have your say on HARPS v2
View Banana Roadshow presentations online
Panama Race 1 info sessions 
Special Feature: Darryl Evans retires
Banana Congress Principal Partner


Ongoing advocacy on workforce issues

The ABGC continues to advocate for industry on worker shortage issues and reminds growers that they can post any job vacancies on the noticeboard here. 

Growers who are keen to discuss their workforce issues can contact Leanne Erakovic on 07 3278 4786. In addition, it’s recommended that growers keep an eye on ABGC communications – including e-bulletins and the website – for updates as they come to hand. If someone you know is not receiving the e-bulletin updates, please advise them to contact with their current details. 

Growers can also record any known crop losses on the National Lost Crop Register, which was launched in December. It was developed by Growcom and aims to inform decision making and media coverage around ongoing workforce issues.

To lodge your losses – anonymously – visit:

As at January 8, crop losses caused by worker shortage issues across the Australian horticultural industry had topped $38m.


Hear about new reef regs – and give feedback

Growers in Lakeland are today hearing about further proposed reef regulations, with an opportunity to give feedback still to come for those in Innisfail and Tully.

From 1 June 2021, new or expanded commercial cropping and horticulture activities on five hectares or more that do not have a cropping history will require an environmental authority (permit) before the activity or any work takes place. A cropping history is when cropping or horticultural activities have been undertaken on the land for at least three out of the last 10 years (with at least one of the years being in the last five years).

The next meetings are:

  • South Johnstone Research Station (Innisfail) – 4 February 1pm – 3pm
  • Queensland Women’s Association Hall, Tully – 5 February 10am – 12pm

A session at Mareeba was held yesterday (January 28).

The meetings are organised by the Office of the Great Barrier Reef, who require an RSVP to manage COVID-19 requirements. Please email if you wish to attend.

Find out more about the draft regulations here.


Australian Bananas Marketing Update

The Australian Bananas ‘Peel Good, Feel Good’ advertising campaign is back on air this week, to coincide with the return of kids to school. The campaign – now in its third year – returned nationally with a bang, including TV, Outdoor advertising (such as road side and retail), as well as Radio.

The advertising runs until April, although social media, PR and some digital elements will remain on until June. The aim of the campaign continues to be driving increased frequency amongst our target markets of Young Transitionals and Families with children under 12. We want consumers to include bananas in their everyday feel-good habits.

Television and Video on Demand (think TV watched on a smart tv, laptop or mobile) will help to drive mass awareness of the Australian Bananas ‘Peel Good, Feel Good’ message and kicked off on January 24. Radio has added to recall in past campaigns and, given the strong audio nature of ‘Make those bodies sing’, we have continued to use this cost effective media to get more bang for our banana buck! Listen out of the ads across the ARN and Nova radio network. The campaign is also supported by outdoor, digital, video, PR and influencer activity adding incremental reach to the campaign and more reminders to keep bananas top of mind, especially for our Young Transitional target market. 

Alongside our bright, clear campaign creative, we’ve also developed some bespoke advertising that specifically reminds parents to pack the Peel Good energy into their kid’s lunchboxes this week. Our live radio ads include messaging like ‘When your little ones start the day with a banana, nothing can stop them’ and social media posts this week have been targeted towards our key audience of families with children under 12. Press Office activity has focused on using our brand ambassador Susie Burrell to remind consumers of the importance of a banana loaded healthy lunchbox. 


ABGC raises HARPS concerns on behalf of growers

The ABGC has submitted feedback on HARPS Version 2 on behalf of growers, drawing attention to a number of urgent issues with the proposed update.

The issues highlighted relate to the additional compliance costs, the duplication with Freshcare, the requirement for training and on-farm practicalities of HARPS v2.

You can find a summary of the proposed changes between versions 1 and 2 of the HARPS Standard here . This link also includes a “Version 2 Comments Form” which should be filled in and submitted directly to by January 31.

ABGC members received an email yesterday with a copy of the ABGC feedback on HARPS. If you didn’t get a copy, or would like to discuss HARPS v2, please contact CEO Jim Pekin on 07 3278 4786 or


Missed the latest roadshow? Presentations are now available online

If you missed the roadshows in 2020, recordings of the presentations are now available on the Better Bananas website.

The roadshows held in November last year focused on banana variety research and development, and included updates on the following research activities:

  • Progress on industry’s banana variety importation and development activities.
  • Latest trial results of the variety screening for TR4 resistance in the Northern Territory.
  • Plant crop performance of varieties in the latest South Johnstone agronomic trial. 
  • Update on on-farm pre-commercialisation trials of TR4 resistant Cavendish cultivars.

The Roadshow events and research presented at the events are funded by Hort innovation, using banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Northern Territory Industry, Tourism and Trade and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.


Panama Race 1 info sessions on Mid North Coast

NSW DPI Banana Industry Development Officer, Tom Flanagan, will be running a brief information session about Panama disease, with a focus on Race 1, at the Nambucca and Coffs Harbour BGA meetings next week.

The info sessions are being held in response to media reports earlier in January highlighting the threat of Panama Race 1 to Lady Finger and Ducasse production in the Coffs Harbour region. The info sessions will provide an overview of the disease for growers and discuss on-farm biosecurity strategies that can be used to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. 

Panama Disease Information Session Details:

  • February 2 – During the Nambucca BGA Meeting starting at 6pm, Macksville Ex-Services Club, Macksville, NSW.
  • February 3 – 5pm before the Coffs Harbour BGA meeting, Woolgoolga Diggers Club, Woolgoolga, NSW.

To RSVP, or for more information, contact Tom: 0437 654 633 or 


Special Feature: End of an era as Darryl Evans retires

Left: Darryl Evans working with a grower to plan his block for planting. | Right: Tools of the trade – Darryl using a Abney Level (Hand Level) to measure slope.

Darryl Evans, Soil Conservationist, has helped more than 100 banana growers in the Far North keep many tonnes of soil on their farms. He is leaving for regional South East Queensland to fully retire and make time for his growing family.

About his work, Darryl said, “The most satisfying part has been helping a landholder mark out and establish a soil conservation layout and then being told that after a storm or rainfall event the water running off the paddock was clean. That means the erosion has been controlled.”

Since 1983, Darryl has worked in the Far North in a range of soil conservation and pest management related roles. Most recently as a consultant, he has been influential in the Australian Banana Growers’ Council’s (ABGC) Best Practice Grants process and supported farmers undertaking sediment management projects, to get the best out of their farm whilst contributing to improved water quality flowing to the Reef.

Some of the activities he has guided and overseen as part of the Grants program include:

Farm planning – design: contouring, laser levelling, row spacing, slope, drainage, sediment traps, wetlands, plant spacing, inter-row profiles, roads and headlands

Farm management – renovations and maintenance: ground cover and traffic management

Grower, Craig Buchanan said, “I remember working as a 15-year-old with Darryl when he was helping us design our Palmerston farm. Over 30 years, he has advised us on the planning of 1,000 acres, and I can clearly see the benefits of his work.”

Darryl began his soil conservation career in 1967 as a cadet at the Department of Primary Industries on the Darling Downs. He worked in various locations throughout Queensland and moved to the Cassowary Coast in 1983 where, as a public servant, he assisted both cane and banana growers in improving their on-farm sediment management practices.

“Darryl will be sorely missed in our region,” said ABGC’s Best Practice Team Coordinator, Amelia Foster. “We have relied heavily on his soil conservation expertise and he has contributed valuable advice to the industry’s Best Management Practice Guidelines.”

Craig said, “Darryl has been really great to work with. He has taught me a lot about soil conservation and water flows.

“The industry needs people like Darryl in it. Once he’s gone, there’s going to be a big hole if he’s not replaced!”

While Darryl leaves a ‘hole’ in ABGC’s practical advisory network, other specialists are emerging who are taking the opportunity to support farmers and apply their knowledge and skills.

“There are still some local Extension Officers with expertise in soil conservation, some of whom have been mentored by Darryl,” Amelia said.

“We look forward to working with them to effectively roll out upcoming projects on farms in the Wet Tropics.”

Michelle McKinlay, ABGC’s Industry Strategy Manager, said they’d been lucky to have Darryl to add value to the team with his significant knowledge and experience. 

“I wish him all the very best in his well-earned retirement and hope he thoroughly enjoys spending lots of time with his family in the cooler climate of the southern part of the state,” she said.

Darryl provided technical input into the Soil Conservation Measures – Design Manual for Queensland, which will continue to be a valuable resource to the banana industry.

Banana Congress Principal Partner

The 2021 Banana Congress team is delighted to announce Woolworths as the Principal Partner. 

Woolworths has been a valued supporter of the Banana Congress for a number of years, helping to ensure the event continues to be a highlight for all involved.

Without businesses like Woolworths, Congress simply wouldn’t be possible and their ongoing commitment is greatly appreciated.


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.