Special operation to rescue Queensland’s pineapples

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 4th January 2011

Pineapples from Central Queensland will be on their way to market today, following a special operation to barge them out of Rosslyn Bay, south of Yeppoon, in flood-affected Queensland.

Flood waters prevented fruit growers from transporting their harvest to market by road as normal.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and the Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten met with pineapple growers in Yeppoon yesterday, promising to help get their produce to market.

“While we were working to get food and supplies into Rockhampton, fruit growers were desperately trying to get their produce out,” said Bligh.

“Without an alternative, millions of dollars worth of  Queensland’s best pineapples, mangoes and lychees would have gone to waste.”

The barge is expected to reach Gladstone at approximately 9am today carrying 480 tonnes of pineapples, and around 60 tonnes of mangoes and lychees.

The fruit, worth up to $5 million to local growers, will then be loaded on board and transported to Gladstone for freighting by road.

The Minister for Public Works and Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten said local growers will be hit hard by the rising floodwaters.

“Many local growers have had their crops completely destroyed by these floods.”

“It would have been soul destroying to see this harvest rot because farmers couldn’t get it to market.”

The Premier said not only would this operation benefit those primary producers but it also means quality Queensland produce for markets in the south.

“We’re likely to see a shortage of tropical fruit, and subsequently higher prices as a result of these devastating floods.

“Therefore, getting this harvest to market for flood affected growers was paramount for the growers and their families as well as the market.”

The Premier and the Prime Minister recently announced additional Commonwealth-State disaster assistance to help small businesses and primary producers impacted by Queensland’s floods.

Small businesses and primary producers in 13 Local Government Areas are already eligible to receive grants of up to $25,000 for clean up and recovery.