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Industry goes bananas over red fruit.

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Industry goes bananas over red fruit

AFFA03/127M 4 July 2003

What's long, thick, yellow and has a fiery red end? A new eco-friendly banana tipped to give consumers top quality taste while protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Acting Agricultural Minister Ian Macdonald said the Pacific Coast Eco Bananas - known as 'Red Tip' - are seen by industry and environmentalists as the way of the future.

The Cavendish bananas are grown in north Queensland by a consortium of seven farming families, and are distinguishable by a striking red wax end to recognise their environmental difference in the growing and packing department.

"Visually, they're brilliant, and for a consumer to know that each time they take a bite they're helping the environment makes this an attractive proposition in more ways than one," Senator Macdonald said.

Group spokesman Frank Sciacca said the idea came about after he grew tired of hearing of the lengthy debate over reef run-off from farms, and the impacts it was having.

"Our environmental management system reduces the inputs or agrochemicals and synthetic fertilisers while farming techniques allow us to improve soil biology," he said.

"We have implemented systems to reduce, recycle or reuse waste resources.

"Water is used efficiently through drip systems, minimising run-off and protecting water quality."

Even the native wildlife is happier under the proposal, according to Mr Sciacca.

"When our packing sheds are in operation, frogs that come in on bunches are collected and returned to the paddock," he said.

The bananas are currently distributed through parts of South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland, with the first pellet sent to Western Australia for a trial within the past month.

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: Mr David Crisafulli (02) 6277 7270 or 0400 144 483