Rain
Rain

Fears rise over pineapple imports

NORTH Queensland pineapple growers are fearful importation of the fruit from South-East Asia could cripple the local industry.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter has fired up over the issue after he caught wind a six-tonne shipment of pineapples from Taiwan was destined for Australian shores.

It comes after the Australian government approved the importation of fresh de-crowned pineapples last year, provided they meet strict biosecurity import conditions and came from commercial production areas.

Mr Katter said the move had the ability to wipe out a local industry, which has been widely prosperous in North Queensland.

Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

 

"We don't help Taiwan by wiping out yet another industry in Australia," he said.

"They have diseases we don't have. They have cheaper and more abundant labour than we have. So our growers will really not be able to compete."

Rollingstone pineapple grower Rian Pace, who manages Pace Farming with his father Stephen, said the fruit importation would be a body blow for the industry. He also raised concerns over the quality of the imported product against homegrown alternatives.

With 12 people working at his farm - a number swelling to 35 during the harvest - and two other similar farms and a packing shed nearby, he said a lot of local workers counted on the pineapple industry for their ­livelihoods.

 

Director of Pace Farming, Stephen Pace. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Director of Pace Farming, Stephen Pace. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

 

"As a farmer, when you're producing a good quality product, and then you're getting an import into the country, it's a bit concerning," Mr Pace said.

"From a biosecurity standpoint, there's the possibility of mealy bugs and thrips coming in with the fruit.

"It is getting methyl bromide fumigated however, so that's a little bit more assuring, but there's always risk involved."

Mr Pace hoped this issue could create greater public awareness about the threat of imported fruit and rally support behind local growers.

An Agriculture Department spokesman could not confirm the shipment, declaring any trade in pineapples was a "commercial transaction between importers and exporters" but said there had been no trade since the federal government approved Taiwan's market access.

Originally published as Fears rise over pineapple imports



Vaccine blow: How long until life in Qld returns to normal

Premium Content Vaccine blow: How long until life in Qld returns to normal

Queensland could stay this way for a long time yet

Interactive: Where you can still get a house for $500k

Premium Content Interactive: Where you can still get a house for $500k

Here’s where you can still get a house for less than $500,000

50 PHOTOS: School holiday fun around Gympie

Premium Content 50 PHOTOS: School holiday fun around Gympie

Take a look at the 50 snaps of smiling faces having fun around Gympie.