BUNCH OF PROBLEMS: Long-time Northern NSW banana grower Tim Johnson with some Cavendish bananas from his farm on Clothiers Creek Rd.
BUNCH OF PROBLEMS: Long-time Northern NSW banana grower Tim Johnson with some Cavendish bananas from his farm on Clothiers Creek Rd.

Tweed banana farmers battling fast-growing Qld fruit

THIRD-generation banana farmer Tim Johnson said Tweed growers were facing tough competition from Queensland farmers who could grow the fruit twice as fast.

The Clothiers Creek farmer said our cooler weather was no match for the hot, tropical and ideal growing conditions enjoyed in North Queensland, which generally produces larger bananas.

"The North Queensland fruit is grown in nearly half the time ours is because bananas are really a tropical fruit," Mr Johnson said.

"It's too cold to really grow them here, but with the fruit in this subtropical area you can grow a much smaller, sweeter fruit, full of nutrients."

Mr Johnson said while Tweed had mostly tastier bananas, the industry was slipping into decline in Northern NSW.

"The pubs in Murwillumbah were booming from the banana industry, but now this area is dead compared to what it used to be.

"There would be people everywhere, money flowing in and out of people's hands and all over the place."

Mr Johnson said most people were unaware that in winter, the less visually appealing a smaller banana, the better the flavour.

"This is one thing the subtropical banana industry has to do a bit of marketing on.

"Our fruit becomes dull in the winter because of the cold; it doesn't have a beautiful yellow bloom like you get in the summer.

"What consumers must be taught is that that's when they're at their sweetest flavour."

Banana facts

  • Bananas are naturally radioactive, due to their high amounts of potassium.
  • There are about 1000 types of banana plants.
  • Over 100 billion bananas are consumed annually in the world.
  • The Goldfinger banana doesn't taste much like a banana, but more like an apple.


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