A group of Carnarvon banana growers are salvaging what they can from crops ruined by Tropical Cyclone Olwyn, and appealing to the sweet tooth of banana consumers.
Speaking at the launch of Sweeter Banana Bread into select Woolworths stores today, Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston applauded the co-operative members for their entrepreneurial response during a very difficult period for Carnarvon growers.
“This region is a highly valued supplier of horticultural produce to the Perth market,” Mr Baston said.
“There are more than 170 fruit and vegetable growers in the region whose crops or infrastructure have been damaged as a result of Cyclone Olwyn.”
The Sweeter Banana Co-operative has collected damaged bananas which were not suitable for the fruit bowl due to markings on the skin, but ideal for banana bread.
The Minister said banana crops had been severely affected by the cyclonic winds.
“Plantations have been knocked down so growers will need to replant and will be out of production for between nine to 15 months,” he said.
“Sweeter Banana has advised that this banana bread will provide the co-operative with a small income over the next 12 months that will assist them in retaining key staff and paying some bills until bananas are back in production.
“Co-operative members are not giving up despite the setbacks and they are doing everything they can to provide their customers with a product.”
Sweeter Banana Co-operative is part of the Buy West Eat Best labelling program, run by the Department of Agriculture and Food.
The program provides West Australian consumers and the local food industry with a food-specific brand to clearly identify WA grown, farmed, fished and produced food products.