Thursday 27 April, 2017
The Mackay Family banana farm, Bundaberg, March 2017, following ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie.
The Mackay Family, renowned Australia-wide for their fresh bananas, have suffered the first blow to their unbeatable banana supply with at least 76% of fruit from their Bundaberg crop impacted by recent ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie.
Cyclone Debbie wreaked havoc across vast areas of North and Central Queensland in March, reminding everyone of the hardships weather can cause and highlighting the importance of ensuring Australian Bananas are always available.
Beyond the fatalities and widespread damage to infrastructure, Cyclone Debbie impacted horticultural crops across the state and caused severe flooding as far south as Northern New South Wales.
According to grower and director, Daniel Mackay, their family are relatively new to Central Queensland, having recently established around 130 acres of bananas in the region.
"Sadly, quite dramatic crop losses have been incurred to the majority of the standing bananas, and this means production will be dramatically lower for the next few months," said Daniel.
"However, beyond June, this will improve to around a 30% reduction in fruit, and should return to normal by October."
While these losses mean bananas aren't as plentiful as pre-Debbie, the Mackay family have managed to cushion the blow thanks to their capacity to produce across diverse locations in Queensland.
Their investment plan includes farming across diverse locations as a form of self insurance. This approach has been a life saver during the recent severe weather event. According to Daniel, their crops in Lakeland - Far North Queensland - and Tully - North Queensland, were not impacted by Cyclone Debbie.
"Our customers insist on reliable supply, so farming our crops in geographically diverse locations is central to guarding against crippling weather events and at the same time is vital to protecting our stance on zero imports," said Daniel.
"Zero imports guards the Australian banana industry on a number of levels, including helping to avoid the introduction of new plant diseases, and maintaining our ability to provide customers with the world's best bananas.
"Essentially, without our 'diverse-locations' approach, a large portion of Queensland's banana supply could have been wiped out during Debbie. However, supplies from our Lakeland and Tully farms will manage to meet consumer demand while damaged crops recover.
"Regional diversity isn't the only way we ensure supply in times of natural disasters. Prior to Cyclone Debbie making landfall, our harvested fruit was transferred to southern Queensland (thanks to outstanding support from Blenners Transport) in anticipation of road flooding and delays.
"Our team actively contacted all customers across the country and ensured no orders were missed."
Looking ahead, the Mackay family are positive about rebuilding their Bundaberg operations and say they were lucky to not suffer major infrastructure damage on their properties.
"Bundaberg is a new and integral part of our family's commitment to always supply Australians with premium, mouth-watering Australian bananas, and so our rebuilding efforts in that region are already underway," said Daniel.
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