Growers’ e-bulletin – February 9, 2021


February 9, 2021


Congress registrations open this Friday
Labour shortage update
Hear from growers about soil conservation
On-farm innovation opportunity for WA growers
Gascoyne River flooding
Congress Major Sponsor: Mackays Marketing  


Set Your Alarm: Congress registrations open this Friday!

After a year unlike any other in living memory, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) is excited to announce that registrations for Congress 2021 open this Friday!

While COVID is still creating a great deal of uncertainly across all states and territories Australia-wide, the ABGC remains confident of hosting a COVID-safe event in Cairns, from May 12-14.

Now, more than ever, the Banana Industry Congress promises to bring some much-needed social relief, inspiration and a rare chance to come together as an industry, as we continue to face challenging times.

The program

The Congress Plenary Program and Exhibition/Trade Show will be held at the Cairns Convention Centre from May 12-14.

Social functions – including the official Welcome Drinks and Banana Bar – will be hosted at the nearby Pullman Cairns International Hotel, which is a short stroll to the Convention Centre. Delegates will be offered discounted accommodation rates at the Pullman when registering for Congress online.

The Program Committee has locked in a stellar line-up of speakers including motivational expert Matt Church (creating positive change), mental health advocate Mary O’Brien (Are you bogged mate?) and Australian marketing guru Adam Ferrier (brand strategy and consumer psychology).

In addition, delegates will again hear from fellow growers about their on-farm innovations and get up-to-date on the latest industry research and development. More speaker announcements to come!

In a very special appearance, Australia’s Outback Croc Wrangler Matt Wright will be attending the much-anticipated Banana Ball.

For more program details go to the Congress website here

Early bird savings!

Take advantage of early bird rates and save up to $115 if you register by March 15.

Big savings are also on offer if you are an ABGC grower member. To receive your discounted Congress rate (a saving of up to $110 for a full registration), members will need to provide their unique Grower Member Code. This Code will be posted and/or emailed to all members over the next week. You must use this Code while processing your registration via the Congress website online.

You can also access your Grower Member Code by contacting Hilary Opray by emailing or phoning (07) 3278 4786.

Win your way to Congress

The competition is back! All growers who register for Congress during the early bird phase will go into the draw to win back the cost of their registration, their accommodation and up to $500 travel expenses – a prize valued at up to $2000.  The lucky winner will be drawn after the Early Bird period ends.

Staying COVID-19 safe at Congress

As previously stated, the ABGC and Congress Organising Committee remain extremely hopeful of hosting a successful Congress in 2021.

All delegates can rest assured that the ABGC, along with our professional events management company MCI, will be going above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of all delegates, including adhering to strict COVID safe guidelines and Government regulations for the entirety of the event.

Register with confidence

While the ABGC is hopeful Congress will go ahead as planned in May, when registrations open, the registration site will have clear Terms & Conditions that outline clauses if the event is postponed or cancelled.

These include;

·      If Congress is postponed: existing paid registrations will automatically transfer to the new Congress dates. If you don’t wish to proceed, simply notify the organisers in writing no more than 90 days from the announcement, and you will receive a 100% refund. After this date, the standard cancellation policy will be applied.

·      If Congress is cancelled: 100% refund is applicable in the event of Congress cancellation (excluding fees and bank charges).

We look forward to seeing everyone in Cairns in May!

Key details for Banana Congress 2021


Labour shortage update

Potential for I-Kiribati workers on banana farms

Approved Employers may be able to take advantage of an offer from the Government of Kiribati, who will pay the equivalent of $500 per person towards charter flight costs, to help get I-Kiribati workers to Australia.

Approved Employers can engage I-Kiribati workers under the Seasonal Workers Programme for nine months, and if the AEs are also approved with the PLS, they can engage workers for between 12 months to 3 years.

Some interest has already been registered with the Pacific Labour Facility, but there is currently room for additional workers on a flight, should any grower/s require small numbers.

Please contact James Knynenburg, Labour Mobility Engagement Manager at the Pacific Labour Facility on 0429 620 827 or

Kiribati has not recorded any cases of COVID-19.

Workforce issues a priority at meeting

Labour shortages facing the banana industry will continue to be the top priority for the Australian Banana Growers’ Council Board, when it meets (virtually) next week.


Hear from growers about soil conservation

Darryl Evans, Soil Conservationist, has wrapped up his work with ABGC to retire to southern Queensland – but he didn’t leave without sharing his knowledge! 

ABGC’s Best Practice Team hosted a soil conservation workshop for earthmoving operators in the region, to build awareness of the importance of managing and implementing earthworks on a banana farm to reduce soil loss. Check out this video for more about the workshop.


On-Farm Innovation Opportunity for WA growers

Applications are now open for WA growers to apply to trial an innovative idea on-farm. The $6000 ‘grant style’ opportunity is the first of its kind as part of the National Banana Development and Extension Program.

If you have a great idea that this funding will help explore, applying is simple. Visit the Better Bananas website for details and to print off the one-page application then e-mail to Robert Mayers –

Working in collaboration with ABGC, applications close on March 12 2021. For further information contact Robert Mayers 0467 960 412 or


An anxious weekend for Carnarvon growers

You might have seen some incredible images of the mighty Gascoyne River in WA over the weekend and, of course, our thoughts were with banana growers in its path.

Thankfully, it seems many growers were spared the worst.

In a statement on their Facebook page, the Sweeter Banana Co-Operative shared that the river began to recede on Saturday, with harvesting starting again shortly afterwards. The packing shed was also unaffected. As many growers know all too well, when extreme weather hits, you’re not only protecting your business, but your own home and your community too – so a shout out to all those who had a sleepless weekend!


Mackays Marketing back as Major Congress Sponsor

Mackays Marketing is celebrating 20 years in business in 2021 and is proud to again be a Major Partner of the upcoming Banana Congress. 

Mackays Marketing is proud to support our industry and look forward to seeing everyone in person to discuss the future of Australian bananas.

Thank you to Mackays Marketing for continuously getting behind Congress! 




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.