Bitter sweet harvest time - farmers get 'plenty of nothing'

12th January 2018 6:00 AM
LOCAL MARKET: John Tidy selling pineapples on behalf of Amamoor farmer Chris Doyle. LOCAL MARKET: John Tidy selling pineapples on behalf of Amamoor farmer Chris Doyle. Greg Miller

GOOD fruit harvests around Gympie region are just another problem for farmers as a supply glut makes for more work and lower prices.

Peter Buchanan says it is possible Amamoor pineapple grower Chris Doyle is the last substantial producer left in what was once pineapple country, from Goomboorian right out to Imbil.

And Mr Buchanan, who harvested his last pineapples in 2016 says he knows exactly why farmers are finding fruit an increasingly bitter harvest.

He says the market demands orderly production to meet demand.

"But there's a thing called nature,” he said.

"It's a consequence of a year with no winter and a lot of natural flowering.

"As our industry tries to force plants to produce in a sequence, nature gave us wet weather.

"We're currently producing capsicum on a contract and whether they like to admit it or not, the buyers have the advantage.”

Then there is competition from imports, grown in countries with much lower production costs.

The long lead time with pineapples makes planning more difficult.

Soon there will be no more pineapples and much less fruit being grown in the area - after Chris Doyle, for example.

Mr Doyle's father Bert grew the first commercial pineapples in the Mary Valley in 1912, on leased land near Amamoor.

In 1951, he moved to where Chris is now farming in Meddleton Rd.

Mr Doyle joined his father on the farm in 1967 and he has now outlasted all his rivals, despite his property being regarded as one of the most heavily frosted in the area. From 1974 to 1986 were "the golden years.”