Ginger cops ‘rough end'

FROM Peter Buchanan's perspective, there is no end of a pineapple that isn't rough.

There is, he says, no future for the Gympie region's rural industries, especially with the relaxation of biosecurity restrictions on pineapple and ginger imports.

Mr Buchanan's major pineapple growing operation will be one of those hard hit by relaxations allowing Malaysian pineapple imports.

He said Australian consumers were necessarily dollar-driven in tight economic times, but "we will wake one day to find the price is that we no longer have quality Australian produce and we no longer have food security in this country.

"It's not just horticulture, it's the whole lot - fishing, forestry, dairy... the lot.

"That's just looking around what we produce around Gympie.

"The industry's been trying to warn governments about the disease risk from imports for some time.

"Like ginger, they dismiss the risk and it's growers who will suffer."

Mr Buchanan's remarks were echoed by Mary Valley ginger grower Shane Templeton.

He said the industry was already in difficulty because of fungus infestations, but a second variety of the fungus could put the Australian ginger industry out of business altogether.

"That doesn't seem to worry them anymore," Mr Buchanan said.

"It's just another nail in the coffin for our industry."

Gympie Times


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