Help spices up the industry
GINGER grower Shane Templeton says farmers in his industry are an unusually clean group these days.
"I've got the cleanest boots I've ever had in my life and we've just about washed the paint off the tractor," he said yesterday.
And Mr Templeton and his colleagues are among farmers who are definitely not praying for rain this year.
Since the root fungus pythium began to threaten the industry, Mr Templeton said, ginger farmers no longer fitted the dirt-on-you-hands image. Wet conditions had worsened the pest's impact by providing ideal conditions for its propagation.
"In the last two years it's been quite bad," he said yesterday, adding that strict hygiene, especially with spore-laden soil, was now essential.
Last January's floods followed on from a year of saturating rain, two years of ideal conditions for wrecking the industry and promoting its most serious disease threat.
But things were not all bad, he said, following a decision by their Australian-owned manufacturing and marketing company, Buderim Ginger.
The company had helped farmers purchase costly and limited seed and, most importantly, had given its farmers a pay rise of 21% for their next harvest.
"There is no doubt that without this assistance, we would not be viable," Mr Templeton said yesterday.