CYCLONE DESTROYS BOWEN CROPS
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).