Ba­nana come­back slowed

Townsville Bulletin - - News - John An­der­sen

SLOW: Geoff Bush says re­cov­ery will take an­other six months EARLY pre­dic­tions of a 16-week turn­around in the cy­clone ba­nana cy­cle have blown-out by at least an­other two months.

Card­well grower Geoff Bush said it would be ano t her s i x weeks b e f o r e bunches started to form on the trees that were too small to be blown down when Cy­clone Yasi struck on Fe­bru­ary 2.

‘‘ I think, give us six weeks be­fore bunches start ap­pear­ing and then four months af­ter that be­fore we har­vest,’’ he said.

If Mr Bush is

cor­rect,

it could well be some time in Septem­ber be­fore things get back to nor­mal in the ba­nana in­dus­try.

And ‘‘ nor­mal’’ in the ba­nana in­dus­try these days means back to an over­sup­ply sit­u­a­tion that would see the shop price fall from what could well be a $ 12/ kg price in a few more weeks t o p r e - c y c l o n e l o ws o f around $ 3/ kg.

In the days af­ter the cy­clone, the in­dus­try was ex­pect­ing the sup­ply chain to be back in full pro­duc­tion some time in late July.

Mr Bush said rain and a lack of sun­shine over the six weeks since Yasi had slowed growth rates, not just in ba­nanas but in sugar cane as well.

Mr Bush said he and his fam­ily had all 400,000 of their adult ba­nana trees blow over in the cy­clone.

He said some grow­ers had saved some of their trees by slash­ing the leaves off in the days lead­ing up to the cy­clone.

He said these trees still pro­duced bunches of ba­nanas, but may be slighter smaller.

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