News

Peeling back the reasons to farm waste

REDUCING WASTE: Banana grower David Pike feeds bananas to his cattle to reduce landfill waste.
REDUCING WASTE: Banana grower David Pike feeds bananas to his cattle to reduce landfill waste. Trevor Veale

UP TO 40% of bananas are thrown away by farmers because they do not fit the standards set by supermarkets.

Coffs Harbour banana producer David Pike said this waste was part of the bunch when it came to farming.

Mr Pike said he sometimes cut down imperfect bunches to mulch the next crop or to feed his cattle because it was more cost efficient, compared to removing it as waste.

"You've got to be ruthless when you're farming,” Mr Pike said. "You realise you're not going to be in the game if you can't make ruthless decisions.”

Mr Pike gave the slip on the inside of the industry following the ABC's War on Waste presented by the Chaser's Craig Reucassel, who revealed bananas too straight, bent, long or short didn't make it to shelves.

While this produced a lot of waste, Mr Pike did not disagree with supermarket standards.

"They're (supermarkets) not stupid, they realise what their customers want,” he said.

Mr Pike said consumers looked for perfection.

"It's human nature to reject stuff with marks on it. We're genetically trained to reject fruit with marks on it,” he said.

Topics:  banana growers banana plants coffs harbour bananas consumerism war on waste



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