[singlepic id=329 w=320 h=240 float=left]Far north Queensland banana and tropical exotic fruit producers are fighting back after Cyclone Yasi with this month’s Feast of the Senses.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt, who will represent the Premier at tonight’s Feast of the Senses Gala In Innisfail said it was a chance for the region to showcase the region’s first-class produce.

Mr Pitt said the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation would once again host the hugely popular tropical fruit display at the Australian Bananas Market Day Extravaganza on Sunday, March 27.

“We’ve got the talents of Yan Diczbalis, a principal horticulturist with the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation coordinating the stall.

“It was no mean feat to pull it all together. The unseasonable wet weather in spring and recent Cyclone Yasi had created challenges in sourcing tropical exotic fruit for the market day.

“Rambutan, mangosteen and durian trees did not flower last November because of the wet spring, which means these popular fruits are scarce,” Mr Pitt said.

“Then along came Yasi, which severely impacted on orchards. It was a double whammy for many producers.

“Lychee production was decimated on the wet tropical coast with about 7,000 trees destroyed by Yasi.

“But it’s going to take more than a cyclone to prevent us from promoting the wide variety of tropical produce of far north Queensland.

“We are working together to source produce from around the north and we promise an interesting array of available tropical fruit that will tempt the taste buds of people enjoying the Feast of the Senses.

“Many of the tropical exotic fruits that grow so well in the wet coast of far north Queensland are native to Asia.

“It is fitting that this year’s Feast of the Senses has adopted the theme ‘Ultra-Tropics with an Oriental Influence.”

Mr Pitt said market-goers would play an important role in rebuilding the morale of the tropical fruit industry.

“We did it before and after Cyclone Larry in 2006 and the Feast of the Senses continues to grow each year thanks to strong community support from all over north Queensland,” he said.

“I encourage the community to come along to the Feast and visit the tropical fruit stall at the intersection of Edith and Rankin Streets, Innisfail.”