Australia: Cyclone Debbie heading south of key banana regions

More News Today's Headline
Australia: Cyclone Debbie heading south of key banana regions

Update: The cyclone is now a Category 4 and could even intensify to become a Category 5, while heavy rainfall has led to heighten concerns about flooding. 

The forecast trajectory would mean Cyclone Debbie is unlikely to wreak the same havoc on banana crops that Cyclone Yasi caused in 2011. 

With Cyclone Debbie just hours away from landfall on the mainland of Far North Queensland where more than 25,000 people have been told to evacuate, one industry that often suffers during such phenomena may be in the clear.

As it is moving more slowly than expected there could end up being more rainfall and winds for a protracted period. 

In a release sent this morning (March 28 AEST), Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) said it expected little impact on key banana-growing regions as a result of the weather system.

"With predictions that the cyclone will hit landfall along the Whitsunday coastline, the worst of the impact will be south of the more heavily banana focussed growing regions,” acting ABGC chairperson Ben Franklin said in a release.

"So while the key growing regions in Northern Queensland will escape Cyclone Debbie’s wrath, we would urge caution over subsequent days, to all growers, given the unpredictable nature of a weather event such as this.

"Our growers have lived through many cyclones and know too well the impact they have. They are also very well prepared in terms of what’s required in the build-up."

"We will certainly be hoping that those farmers around Mackay and Ayr come through the next 24 hours with minimal damage."

Bowen Gumlu Growers Association president Carl Walker told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) the Bowen region's horticultural sector had an annual revenue of AUD$450 million, providing employment to 3,500 people.

The story highlighted the area produced most of Australia's winter vegetable crop, including peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, pumpkins, cucumbers beans and corn, as well as tropical fruits like mangoes, cantaloupes, pineapples and litchis.

Photos: Bureau of Meteorology

Related story: Cyclone Debbie: 'If there's crop in the ground, it will be lost', says Growcom rep

Subscribe to our newsletter