Banana farm flourishes two years on from Tropical Cyclone Niran

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Banana enterprise Tropic Coast Farming is back to producing quality bunches two years on from Tropical Cyclone Niran.

Far North Queensland banana grower Sebastian Di Salvo

Sebastian Di Salvo

Two years ago, Far North Queensland banana grower Sebastian Di Salvo’s entire banana crop was wiped out by Tropical Cyclone Niran.

“When the damaging winds hit us, it was the worst predicament we could have been in,” he said.

“I had seven or eight staff, and I think it took us about four or five weeks to clean up 160 acres of bananas.”

Today, his farming business Tropic Coast Farming is back to full production, with the help of financial assistance from QRIDA.

“At the moment we’ve been busy bringing bananas into the shed, packing them and getting them to market,” he said.

“We’re back on track and it’s also been good to see favourable growing conditions recently.”

Recovering with Disaster Financial Assistance

Soon after the disaster, Sebastian received a $75,000 Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Grant from QRIDA.

As he was an eligible impacted primary producer, he made an initial application of $25,000 for the grant.

“We needed the funds to help cover the costs of wages to assist in the clean-up,” he said.

“In our application we provided photos to show the significant damage to the banana plantation.”

After receiving $25,000, Sebastian applied for the remaining $50,000 of the grant.

“This helped with further contractor clean up costs, wages and materials,” he said.

Sebastian also applied for a $250,000 Disaster Assistance Loan to help with further crop re-establishment costs.

“I think it’s very important that people who are affected get as much financial assistance as they can,” he said.

“We are primary producers. We are at the mercy of the weather, and QRIDA is there to help us for that reason… it’s a big help.”

Bracing for the next cyclone

With cyclones likely for Far North Queensland this disaster season, Sebastian is urging other primary producers to remain alert.

“You don’t want to see anyone suffer 100 per cent losses, it’s really heartbreaking, so I think we all feel for each other,” he said.

Following a disaster, get in touch with QRIDA about what financial assistance might be available.

“My Regional Area Manager for Far North Sam Spina helped me and I can’t fault him. He does whatever he can for us at all times.”

To find out more about QRIDA’s disaster assistance, visit QRIDA Disaster Recovery.

QRIDA administers financial assistance to disaster affected primary producers, businesses and non-profit organisations under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

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Last updated: 08 March 2023