Nana4AFarmer: support banana growers

19th April 2022 | Eativity editors
support banana growers

Like most Australian farmers, our banana growers are currently experiencing a time of unparalleled challenge. Along with escalating costs of fertiliser, freight and fuel, growers are still struggling with COVID-induced worker shortages. Now, devastating weather events and low returns are putting a level of stress on our national industry like it’s never experienced before. But there is something you can do to help.

Banana growers were already battling through long periods of poor market prices. Then COVID showed up. This put immense pressure on almost every Australian banana business as they struggled to find enough workers to help harvest their crops. This continues to impact operations. More recently, rising fuel costs have also hit our farmers in the back pocket. Now the war in Ukraine is having an impact on the costs of fertiliser.

On top of all this, the weather has not been kind to many of our growers. Last year, Tropical Cyclone Niran wreaked havoc on banana farms across Far North Queensland. This year, the same growing region was hit by a two-week heatwave. This caused a number of issues with fruit quality. Some growers were forced to destroy the worst-affected parts of their crops.

Peter Molenaar (left) with his son Dan at their banana farm, which suffered rain damage
Peter Molenaar (left) with his son Dan at their northern NSW farm, which suffered rain damage.

It never rains but it pours

Meanwhile, growers in northern NSW have had to deal with severe weather and flooding. At banana grower Peter Molenaar’s Mullumbimby farm, more than a metre of rain fell in a 30-hour period between February 28 and March 1. This was on top of 50cm the previous five days. Molenaar says of the damage from flooding on his farm near Mullumbimby that, “This has been a disaster like no other for the NSW far north coast. People are hurting.”

Australian Banana Growers’ Council director and banana grower Stephen Spear, who also farms in the region, escaped major crop losses, but has been unable to access his crops due to waterlogged soil and causeway damage. “At the moment, I still can’t get to my bananas, so I can’t harvest them,” he says. “I think every banana grower knows what it’s like when you cannot harvest. After all the effort that goes into producing a bunch.”

What you can do to help

Consumers are being encouraged to show their support for our growers and pick up a few extra bananas when they’re shopping. The industry has launched a #nana4afarmer social media campaign to encourage consumers to keep buying bananas – and more of them.

“We urge consumers to please continue to show your support and buy a #nana4afarmer,” says Australian Banana Growers’ Council chair Stephen Lowe. “Banana growers are the fabric of many regional and rural communities around Australia. Just adding a couple of extra bananas in your shopping basket will make a considerable difference to our growers who continue to toil away to provide you with Australia’s number one supermarket fruit.”

#nana4afarmer: Banana farming kids from left to right Isadora Nucifora, Brandon Borsato, and Gabriella and Teodoro Nucifora
Banana farming kids Isadora Nucifora, Brandon Borsato and Gabriella and Teodoro Nucifora.

So, let’s show some love to the growers who produce Australia’s favourite yellow fruit. All you need to do is buy a couple of extra bananas next time you’re shopping. Easy. Plus, you could win merch. How? Simply direct message the Australian Banana Growers’ Council on Facebook with a pic of you supporting #nana4afarmer and you’ll go into the draw to win an Australian Bananas merchandise pack.

Looking for banana inspiration in the kitchen? Check out these recipes and ‘nana facts and these recipes for banana muffins and scrolls. We’ve also got this oat banana bread recipe from Hayden Quinn and these easy four-ingredient banana treats. For more recipe ideas, head to the Australian Bananas website.