Northlanders see a bright future

Gisborne banana growers receive advice, support

Gisborne banana growers receive advice, support

GOING BANANAS: A group of visiting Northland commerical banana growers visited Gisborne at the weekend to share ideas and support the fledging banana industry. They were pictured at the Tolaga Bay Bowling Club. (From left, at back) Owen Schalfi, Linda Schalfi, Diane Kaiser, Brian Slade and chairperson Hugh Rose, all from TFGNZ Northland. (Front) Rodger Bodle, Mila Solomon, Quentin Solomon, Pera Ngerengere, Peter Boyd, Gary Hall and Don Blakeney. The bananas they hold were from a bunch donated by a Northland grower as a gift from Ngapuhi to Ngati Porou. Picture supplied

A GROUP of Northland commercial banana growers from Tropical Fruit Growers NZ (TFGNZ) visited the district last weekend to visit local banana growing activities and give advice, knowledge and support to local growers.

The Tai Pukenga Trust at Manutuke is the driving force behind the development of commercial banana production here, in association with AgResearch.

Dr Jane Mullaney from AgResearch NZ Ltd Palmerston North, who heads the project here to rapidly expand banana farms throughout Tairawhiti also attended.

The visitors brought around 200 banana stems (plants) with them and they were sold to the local growers.

“The visitors also took some samples of the local varieties back home,” said trust programme manager Trevor Mills.

“All banana plantations in Northland are planted the same way as is done overseas, with individual stems placed at least two metres apart, so they are not competing against each other for sustenance and growth.

“This does mean bigger bunches and bigger bananas,” Mr Mills said.

The group visited banana growing sites at Makaraka, Ormond and the Back Ormond Road on Saturday before returning to view local banana guru Rodger Bodle’s research facility in Riverside Road.

“On Sunday the group travelled to Tolaga Bay to attend a community hui at the local bowling club and meet with prospective growers from around the district.”

Mr Mills said two properties, one at Mangatuna and the other at an established orchard near the Tolaga Bay township, were identified as suitable sites for the establishment of commercial banana farms in the district.

“The weekend visit was certainly a success for all concerned and the Northlanders were confident that there was a bright future here for the local growers.”

A GROUP of Northland commercial banana growers from Tropical Fruit Growers NZ (TFGNZ) visited the district last weekend to visit local banana growing activities and give advice, knowledge and support to local growers.

The Tai Pukenga Trust at Manutuke is the driving force behind the development of commercial banana production here, in association with AgResearch.

Dr Jane Mullaney from AgResearch NZ Ltd Palmerston North, who heads the project here to rapidly expand banana farms throughout Tairawhiti also attended.

The visitors brought around 200 banana stems (plants) with them and they were sold to the local growers.

“The visitors also took some samples of the local varieties back home,” said trust programme manager Trevor Mills.

“All banana plantations in Northland are planted the same way as is done overseas, with individual stems placed at least two metres apart, so they are not competing against each other for sustenance and growth.

“This does mean bigger bunches and bigger bananas,” Mr Mills said.

The group visited banana growing sites at Makaraka, Ormond and the Back Ormond Road on Saturday before returning to view local banana guru Rodger Bodle’s research facility in Riverside Road.

“On Sunday the group travelled to Tolaga Bay to attend a community hui at the local bowling club and meet with prospective growers from around the district.”

Mr Mills said two properties, one at Mangatuna and the other at an established orchard near the Tolaga Bay township, were identified as suitable sites for the establishment of commercial banana farms in the district.

“The weekend visit was certainly a success for all concerned and the Northlanders were confident that there was a bright future here for the local growers.”

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