North Queensland banana growers will continue to receive support to invest in the future of their farming businesses, and the health of the Great Barrier Reef, thanks to new funding for the Banana Best Management Practice (BMP) program.
The Queensland Government has committed $3.76 million to Banana BMP, allowing the program to continue until at least 2026.
The Banana BMP project, which began in 2018, is delivered by the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC). It supports growers to self-assess their own practices, and where possible, make improvements based on expert advice.
ABGC chair Stephen Lowe said he was pleased the Queensland Government had made such a significant investment to support the state’s banana growers.
“This will allow growers to continue to implement best management practice on their farms,” he said.
“It is a practical example of the government backing growers to farm sustainably in the Wet Tropics and Cape York. Our growers are embracing practices that are critical for productivity and profitability, but also for improving water quality.
“We take our role as land stewards for the next generation very seriously, and this investment is further evidence of that.”
In the previous phase of the project, more than 2500 hectares of banana production saw changes to farming practices. This represents more than 25 per cent of the total area under bananas in reef catchments.
“I know the very capable ABGC Extension Team wants to continue working with growers to help them consider improving the way they farm,” ABGC CEO Leanne Erakovic said. “It doesn’t matter if the grower is new to banana farming or has been doing it for 20 years, there is always a benefit to reviewing your practices, both for sustainability and for profitability.
The Queensland Government announcement coincides with a huge milestone for industry, with the Banana BMP guidelines set to turn 10 this year. Even before the BMP project began to support the guidelines, they had earnt a reputation as a manual for growers wanting to make positive change.
“A decade of Best Management Practice is a great achievement for this industry, and something we’ll be marking throughout the year,” Ms Erakovic said.
“It’s also pleasing to see that, as part of the latest round of funding, the government has provided $1.5 million for grants to help growers continue to build on this. We know it’s been a tough few years, and this will go some way to supporting more on-farm improvements, as well as ensuring a strong future for Australian bananas and better water quality.”
Growers interested in finding out more about grants or the Banana BMP project more broadly can contact the team via email@example.com.