Carnarvon Banana Plantations
Carnarvon, with a moderate, tropical climate and an abundance of ground water is the perfect
location for growing tropical fruits. Carnarvon Banana Plantations have been growing the fruit commercially
along the Gascoyne River , since the 1940's. Grown on flat surfaces in extremely fertile soil the Carnarvon
bananas are the main fruit grown for shipment to Perth and form the basis for Carnarvon's thriving agricultural
industry. The Carnarvon Banana Plantations produce nearly 80% of all bananas consumed in Western Australia. The
plantations use a sprinkler system for irrigation from water extracted from the underground aquifers in the Gascoyne River. There are over 70 banana plantations in Carnarvon, covering 350
hectares and producing 4,194 tonnes of bananas annually.
It is hard work on the plantations, with many of the workers still cutting
the bunches of bananas by hand, using rather sharp machetes . Each bunch weighs about 50kg.
The banana industry in Carnarvon can be attributed to a man named Jack Buzolic. Mr Buzolic having
written an article about the potential for banana crops in the area, planted the first banana suckers in 1928 and
by 1930 he had his first saleable crop.
Australian Banana IndustryThe Australian banana Industry produces an estimated 300,000 tonnes of
bananas annually. Queensland is the major producer with an estimated 256,000 tonnes, followed by New South
Wales (13,000 tonnes), Western Australia (5,500 tonnes) and Northern Territory (930 tonnes).The world's
largest banana producing country is India, producing an estimated 16.4 million tonnes, followed by Brazil
(6.5 million tonnes), China (5.7 million tonnes), Ecuador (5.5 million tonnes) and the Philippines (5.2
million tonnes).The world's largest banana exporter is Ecuador exporting approximately 4.3 million tonnes
(2003), followed by Costa Rica, Philippines, Colombia and Guatemala.
Aftermath of Cyclone LarryIn March 2006, cyclone Larry ripped through north Queensland, destroying
close to 90% of Australia's banana plantations. As a result all attention turned to New South Wales and
Carnarvon plantations for supplying Australia with bananas. Carnarvon growers who were averaging about $6 for
a 13kg box of bananas were soon supplying markets around Australia with bananas for up to $110 a box. The
steep increase in the cost of bananas resulted in several Carnarvon plantations being raided by poachers
under the cover of night. The thieves were then selling the bananas on the black market. The boom in
Carnarvon bananas is expected to last for at least seven months, which is the estimated time it will take for
plantations in North Queensland to be re-established.
Facts about Bananas
The Australian Banana Growers Council
Tweed Valley Banana Festival