The Australian pineapple industry will converge on Bundaberg from today for the industry’s annual Pineapple Field Days.

Delivered by Growcom, the two-day event will showcase industry R&D that aims to improve productivity and environmental outcomes across the sector.

Growcom Chief Executive Officer Stephen Barnard said for the past two years, the pineapple industry had experienced some of the driest conditions on record resulting in large volumes of undersized fruit.

“Australia’s $52.2 million pineapple industry is just one of the many horticultural industries concerned with the lack of water security,” he said.

Horticulture in the Bundaberg region is worth $600 million to the local and state economy annually, producing a wide range of crops including sweet potato, avocado, macadamia and pineapple.

“Horticulture is a foundational industry for the local economy and the health of the sector is dependent on water security,” Mr Barnard said.

“The decision by the Queensland Government to lower Paradise Dam, together with unseasonably dry conditions and low allocations for the next year, has left many growers justifiably anxious about their crops in the short term and their own long term livelihoods.

“Water from Paradise Dam means businesses are solvent, school fees are covered, medical bills are paid, and food is on the table.

“Industry continues to seek signals from the Queensland Government that our industry is a priority as the engine of so much regional prosperity and employment.

“We have a commitment from the State Government that no capacity will lost be lost from the irrigation scheme in total, and remain hopeful this will be achieved by raising the Paradise Dam wall back to its original height. 

“But whichever way capacity is restored, the region deserves a decision out of Government as soon as possible, and ideally before the end of the year, so growers can get back to planning for their future.

“Growcom will continue to advocate on behalf of growers in Bundaberg to ensure the strong growth of our industry in the region continues.”