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Grower says time to rebuild

Lauren CelenzaCountryman
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It could take more than two years to get banana plantations back into full production after the recent Carnarvon floods.

Growers are picking up the pieces, but many are still unable to return home and some are sleeping on rotting, mouldy furniture.

Banana grower Tom Day said he lost half of his crop from the deluge.

Mr Day said he would be better off ripping all his plants out and starting again. Heat damage wiped out a quarter of his plants before the flood, while those which were left were significantly stressed or falling over in soggy ground.

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“Piles of sand and debris that flowed from other farms are now in the middle of my banana trees, ” he said.

“It will take a while to clean up. I might save one patch, but it’s too hard to walk through and the soil’s been lost around the roots so I may end up getting rid of the lot.

“If we keep the trees, production would drop considerably, so economically we should replant the whole plantation.”

Mr Day met Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Carnarvon last week.

“It was good to be able to talk to her — she’s easy to talk to, and everyone who did, spoke highly of her, ” he said.

Mr Day said flood damage to his house had cost about $60,000 so far, but he has flood insurance.

“The cabinet makers and builders in town are flat out, ” he said. “Perth companies have been called on to ease demand.

“One good thing is we have thrown out a lot of old gear that we have been meaning to get rid of.”

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