Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SHAN­NON POWER

PEO­PLE in the Far North banana in­dus­try are feel­ing good for the first time in a long time.

Af­ter the po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic Panama dis­ease was de­tected on a farm in Tully ear­lier this year, grow­ers have been wor­ried the in­dus­try may strug­gle to bounce back.

How­ever, strong show­ings at the banana com­pe­ti­tions at the re­cent Innisfail and Tully shows have bol­stered con­fi­dence.

At the Tully Show last week, more than 60 bunches and 30 car­tons were dis­played in what has been de­scribed as the best ex­hibit in 10 years.

Most suc­cess­ful ex­hibitor was Mis­sion Beach’s Sel­lars Bananas with wins for cham­pion car­ton of clus­ters, cham­pion hand and pair of hands, and the cham­pion ex­tra- large clus­ter car­ton from the Tully Dis­trict.

Busi­ness owner Naomi Brown­rigg is op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture for banana farm­ers in the Far North.

“For years we still won’t know the im­pact of Panama ... but we have con­fi­dence in the in­dus­try mov­ing for­ward,” she said. “It’s not go­ing to be the death knell for us.”

De­spite the pop­u­lar banana pack­ing com­pe­ti­tion not be­ing held at this year’s Innisfail Show, the chief stew­ard for the banana ex­hibits, Rob Zahra, was happy with the turnout. “It’s a ma­jor draw­card,’’ he said. “It cer­tainly would have re­duced the num­ber of peo­ple com­ing to the Innisfail Show.

“But the de­ci­sion to not go ahead with the pack­ing com­pe­ti­tion was made in April, when the Panama threat was new to us.”

BEAR­ING FRUIT: Naomi Brown­rigg of Sel­lars Bananas and Jason Camp­bell show off their win­ning en­tries.

BEST ON SHOW: Jeff Dickinson from Kennedy with the cham­pion bunch.

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