Farmers Will Walk Away; Agricultural Industry Reeling after Yasi, Minister Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Petrina Berry of AAP

NORTH Queensland farmers, particularly coastal growers of exotic fruits, have been battered so badly by Cyclone Yasi that some may be forced to quit the industry.

Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said banana and exotic fruit farmers in the Tully region, near Mission Beach where the category five cyclone hit, were reeling.

C[pounds sterling]We have reports of probably 100% crop losses in the banana and papaw industries on the coast, likewise with exotic fruits,C[yen] Mr Mulherin said.

He said some bananas were still being supplied from the Atherton Tablelands, but banana farms on the coast would need until July to get back to 80% production.

Cane would be harvested this year, but how much had been lost was not yet known.

C[pounds sterling]Papaws will take 12 months (to get back to production), exotic fruits such as lychees will take four years to get fruit,C[yen] Mr Mulherin said. …