A Far North Queensland banana company has secured more than $200,000 from the State Government to turn reject crop into environmentally friendly fertiliser.
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said up to a third of a plantation’s crop could become unsaleable for purely cosmetic reasons placing a huge burden on the entire industry in lost crop as well as removal and disposal costs.
Mr Pitt said Innisfail-based Wadda Plantation had been awarded a $205,500 Business and Industry Transformation Incentive (BITI) grant to develop and commercialise the green waste management system that would convert ‘retail rejected’ bananas into usable byproducts, namely fertiliser.
“The technology dramatically reduces waste, with the majority of nutrients going into a liquid fertilser that will limit chemical fertiliser use on the plantation,” Mr Pitt said.
“Banana companies are forced to deal with the enormous cost and burdensome logistics of rejected bananas so if Wadda can find a viable solution they could be onto something huge for themselves as well as the industry.”
Wadda Director Mark Gallagher said his plantation alone could produce up to 30 tonnes a day of banana waste in full production periods.
“This is a huge financial drain and an environmental duty of care facing all banana farmers,” Mr Gallagher said.
“We have been working to develop the system for some time. The BITI grant will help us to take it to the next level with a marketable commercial offering.
“We’re very confident in the technology and expect to have a product on the market within two years.”
Treasurer and Minister for State Development and Trade Andrew Fraser said Wadda was one of 16 companies granted more than $3 million in BITI funding in the latest round.
“Since BITI was launched in 2007, more than $12.3 million has been approved for 62 companies, which is projected to create around 560 full time jobs for Queenslanders,” Mr Fraser said.
“BITI is open to businesses operating in targeted Queensland industries who can apply for between $30,000 and $250,000 for innovative projects capable of growing their business and their industry.
“After everything Queensland businesses have been through – from natural disasters to the impact of the global financial crisis and the strong Australian dollar – it is imperative we do all we can to promote progressive, innovative businesses.”
The next round of BITI closes on 29 August 2011. For more information, contact the DEEDI Service Centre on 13 25 23 or your local DEEDI Centre or email a brief outline of your project to BITI@deedi.qld.gov.au