March 2, 2020
The Australian Banana Growers’ Council has been contacting Far Northern growers and assisting the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to make an assessment on crop losses caused by cyclonic winds.
While TC Niran has not crossed the coast, winds associated with the developing system yesterday caused severe storm damage to a significant number of farms in the Cassowary Coast region (except for Tully) as well as the Northern Tablelands.
What we know
- Most of the coastal Cassowary Coast Region has been affected. Growers around Innisfail – particularly Boogan and Wangan – have reported up to 100% crop losses.
- Crop losses of between 20%-100% have been reported from Fishery Falls, Cowley, Mission Beach, parts of El Arish and inland across to Walkamin/Mareeba and other parts of the Atherton Tablelands.
- The cyclonic winds come on top of years of low prices and severe worker shortages caused by COVID-19.
- There have been no reports of damage from the Tully Valley or Lakeland, and the southern Tablelands seem to have had only minor damage.
- It is too early to give an overall figure regarding damage. We expect to know more in coming days.
Are you affected?
If you’ve not already reported your losses to the ABGC or DAF, please consider doing so. This will help contribute to a full picture of just how widespread the damage is. The ABGC is the voice of the commercial industry and any information you provide will help inform our response. You can contact the ABGC on 07 3278 4786 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s happening now
- Damage assessments being undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries today (March 2) – and over coming days – are the first step in the process for disaster relief. The ABGC is assisting with these. Information will also be collated from other industries and sent to DAF Head Office to make a case to the Australian Government for disaster assistance.
- The ABGC has also begun making representations to relevant authorities on behalf of growers affected. This includes contacting relevant politicians (State and Federal) and local council.
- The ABGC is answering media calls and providing information regarding the damage. As part of this messaging, the ABGC is also responding to consumer inquiries and liaising with marketers. The media response will continue over coming days. You can read the ABGC’s media release here.
Who you can call for help
- Australian Banana Growers’ Council – 07 3278 4786
- Nick Birchley, Farm Financial Counsellor at South Johnstone – 0448 460 309
- Innisfail – Community Support Centre – 07 4043 8400