CY­CLONE DE­STROYS BOWEN CROPS

Central and North Burnett Times - - HORTICULTURE -

HOR­TI­CUL­TURE grow­ers in the Bowen re­gion are among those hit hard by Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Ita ac­cord­ing to early as­sess­ments by in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tion Grow­com.

Grow­com CEO Alex Liv­ing­stone said at this stage it looked like about 50% of veg­etable pro­duc­tion in the Bowen re­gion had been wiped out by se­vere flood­ing as­so­ci­ated with the cy­clone.

“Grow­ers with crops such as toma­toes, capsicums, beans, chill­ies and egg­plants have had a bit­ter set­back,” Mr Liv­ing­stone said.

“Grow­ers must start from scratch to pre­pare their prop­er­ties for re-plant­ing.

“Grow­ers will have no in­come from their cur­rent crop to pay for the nec­es­sary work needed to be done to set them­selves up for the next har­vest and in some cases won’t re­ceive any in­come for 12 months.”

Flood­ing in the Bowen area is re­port­edly the worst it has been in more than 40 years.

“The Duck Creek area near Bowen seems to have been the hard­est hit. How­ever, much of the Bowen area, and south of Townsville at Ayr, also have been badly af­fected. Grow­ers of crops such as zuc­chi­nis, egg­plant and rockmelons are not yet able to do as­sess­ments be­cause of flood­wa­ters.”

Mr Liv­ing­stone said there had been around 20% losses to banana pro­duc­tion in the Lake­land re­gion south of Cook­town, and nearby Hope­vale’s banana pro­duc­tion had been to­tally wiped out.

Other parts of Queens­land had been more for­tu­nate, with wind los­ing in­ten­sity rapidly in the Ma­reeba area. Potato crops suf­fered min­i­mal dam­age while av­o­cado, paw­paw and mango trees re­main stand­ing.

“Grow­ers es­ti­mate only around 5% dam­age to paw­paw pro­duc­tion over­all, al­though some in­di­vid­u­als have re­ported los­ing around 30% of their crop.”

Mr Liv­ing­stone said it would be a cou­ple of weeks be­fore a full as­sess­ment could be done since flood­wa­ters still im­peded grow­ers in some re­gions from in­spect­ing their prop­er­ties.

Mr Liv­ing­stone is a part of the Agri­cul­ture Con­trol Group, which has al­ready met with the govern­ment twice to dis­cuss crop as­sess­ments af­ter the cy­clone.

To be in­cluded in the as­sess­ment, con­tact Grow­com in Bris­bane on 1800 654 222 (free call).

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