Growing Innovation: Issue 10, June 29, 2016

Pineapples make their mark in top end

Gavin and Stephen Scurr, Piñata Farms, Qld, NT and NSW

 

Third generation pineapple growers Gavin and Stephen Scurr were excited to showcase the best of Northern Territory horticulture, when they hosted a study tour this month.

At the time of writing, the brothers, from Piñata Farms, were preparing to have 40 Queensland growers visit their pineapple farm in Darwin and mango farm in Katherine.

“We were happy to host the tour as we always learn a lot from mixing with fellow growers,” Gavin said.

As the only commercial pineapple growers in the Northern Territory, the brothers hoped tour participants would benefit from an understanding of the local industry.

Gavin and Stephen’s grandfather started growing pineapples in Caboolture in 1961.

These days, the brothers grow 400 hectares of pineapples in Darwin, Mareeba and Caboolture, as well as 350 hectares of honey gold mangoes in Darwin, Katherine, Mataranka, Rockhampton and Caboolture. Additionally, they grow 70 hectares of strawberries in Caboolture and Stanthorpe.

Gavin said the pineapple industry was very cohesive and tried hard to provide consumers an enjoyable eating experience.

“The best part of our job is getting feedback from customers about how much they enjoyed our fruit. Like all farming, there are plenty of challenges to keep us interested. The increasing cost of production is making it hard for growers to remain viable, especially when fruit and vegetables in general aren’t increasing in retail value.”

Due to this high cost of production, Gavin said it was important that Piñata used cutting edge technology, with industry research assisting in making this possible.

Australian pineapple marketing had also helped insure viability by raising the profile of pineapples in the minds of consumers, he said.

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