Banana deal a 'win-win'

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Banana supplies to the Perth Zoo have kept steady during the period of market uncertainty, on the back of a deal with Carnarvon's Sweeter Banana Co-operative.

The co-operative has provided about 100kg a week of its second-rate bananas to the zoo since March this year.

Sweeter Banana Co-operative marketing manager Doriana Mangili said the joint venture was a win-win situation.

"It has been great to be able to take what would otherwise be classified as waste bananas and pack them up for the animals," she said.

"It has been a great thing for the zoo and for us."

Ms Mangili said the 28 grower member co-operative was also looking at other ways to sell its waste produce, such as through juice bars.

WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion said the supply of bananas to the zoo was imperative.

"Bananas are a key dietary component for a number of species including bears, cassowaries, primates, elephants and smaller animals including birds and reptiles so maintaining supply is important," he said.

"The added benefit of this partnership is that it supports banana farmers in Carnarvon, whose product has been badly affected by flooding and insect plagues this year. These farmers have been able to get a small return on fruit that would otherwise have been wasted, assisting many of them to get back on their feet."

Banana prices were expected to bounce back this week, as Queensland supplies start to stabilise.

Carnarvon growers were hit with floods and locust damage this season, which caused at least 30 per cent reduction to their crop.

Ms Mangili said it would be a long time before Carnarvon supplies returned to normal.

Mercer Mooney executive general manager Paul Neale said there was a direct link between WA and Queensland banana prices.

"In the same way Carnarvon prices moved up because of the Queensland floods and cyclones, it is likely the Carnarvon prices will move back with Queensland prices," he said.

At the start of the week, WA bananas were at $9.90 per kg, compared to a peak of $14.85 in June.

Analysts expect the price of Queensland bananas to soften in the coming months.

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