Local banana farmers become Reef Guardians

Published: 01/09/2011

A far north Queensland family owned banana operation will be recognised today (Thursday 1 September 2011) for their sustainability initiatives to help protect the Great Barrier Reef.

They will become the first participants in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's (GBRMPA) Reef Guardian Farmer Banana Pilot Program.

GBRMPA Director of Reef Guardians Ms Karen Vohland said the Reef Guardian Farmers program recognises the valuable environmental initiatives and innovative business practices undertaken by farmers to help build the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

"Marc and Michelle Darveniza from Scheu Creek Enterprise in South Johnstone are among five banana pilot participants in Queensland," Ms Vohland said.

"They have been committed to achieving high environmental management standards for almost ten years.

"The Darveniza's and other pilot participants are proving that onground actions can bring about both positive economic and environmental outcomes."

Scheu Creek Enterprise owner and Reef Guardian Mr Marc Darveniza said they are passionate about ensuring they contribute to a healthy environment for their five children.

"The banana farm overlooks the banks of the South Johnstone River which has suffered from the effects of over-clearing in the past," Mr Darveniza said.

"We plan to plant trees and manage bank erosion to repair the damage.

"We have previously revegetated the local Lockyer Creek with the assistance of Rotary and Landcare and Charlie, our resident crocodile seems happy with the changes!

"On the farm, building the health and resilience of the soil is a key component of the sustainable farming system we are pursuing.

"Our approach is more labour intensive but the pay-off in savings from working with nature to provide natural pest control makes it worthwhile.

In the last 10 years the Darveniza's have shifted towards a predator control system whereby now no insecticide sprays are used on or in the ground.

Australian Banana Growers Council President Mr Cameron Mackay said the timing of the Reef Guardian Farmer Banana Pilot Program couldn't be better, with the industry currently seeking to formally document what constitutes best practice for banana production.

"After the devastation of major banana production areas in north Queensland due to adverse weather, the growers are well on the way to rebuilding their farms," Mr Mackay said.

"As they do this they are looking for innovative and practical improvements to ensure the future sustainability of the industry."


Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846