Australian bananas

The West Australian government has announced it will deliver replacement soil to Carnarvon fruit and vegetable growers significantly affected by flooding in February.

More than 30 growers reported damage to production paddocks in the Carnarvon irrigation area. To assist in the recovery the West Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has secured suitable soil and managed the associated environmental, heritage and native title issues.

The Carnarvon irrigation area is home to a wide range of fresh produce production including tomatoes, capsicums, sweet corn, mangoes, asparagus, melons, bananas, herbs and chillies, worth up to A$100m per annum.

Alannah MacTiernan, West Australian minister for agriculture and food, said the soil replacement programme will help growers get back on their feet and reposition their businesses on a sound footing for future production.

'This replacement soil will assist affected growers who followed the guidelines developed after the previous major floods to get paddocks back into their production system,” said MacTiernan.

'We see many growers have already levelled farm tracks and paddocks so annual crop planting can continue, and others who have undertaken remedial action and adopted farm practices to protect their crops from water erosion.

'It is important for industry to gather the lessons learned from this flood event and invest in strategies that prevent this threat to production and builds long term business resilience.'

The Department’s response will also include a review of Carnarvon flood plain management and the catchment plan to mitigate the impact of future flooding events.

The flood plain review will have a strong focus on soil management, with the expectation that growers will implement sustainable conservation practices to reduce the risk of erosion and the need for soil replacement.