Queensland’s horticulture industry has called for perspective amid public backlash over food waste caused by a pineapple glut.
It comes after a social media post from a North Queensland grower, depicting tonnes of rotting pineapples and pointing the finger at Golden Circle for not opening its cannery early, went viral.
Growcom CEO Pat Hannan joined Australian Pineapple Growers chairman Stephen Pace in saying the pineapple industry’s relationship with Golden Circle was an important one.
“The bottom line is Golden Circle continues to be a valued partner of the pineapple industry and our growers need Golden Circle as much as Golden Circle needs our growers,” Mr Hannan said.
“That’s not to say the relationship doesn’t have its moments, but everyone just needs to take a deep breath and put things in perspective because this is not a straightforward issue.”
Mr Pace said it was important for the industry to maintain a positive relationship with Golden Circle.
“The last thing we want is ill-feeling from Golden Circle towards us growers, because it disadvantages the industry,” Mr Pace said.
“The industry is still 100 per cent behind Golden Circle and it is not Golden Circle’s fault the fruit is sitting in a pile and going rotten.”
Mr Hannan said it was unfortunate growers had lost out.
“The key issue here is pineapple growers did not predict there would be such good fruit in such volumes available at this time of year – it is unusual,” he said.
“It’s fair to say Golden Circle may not have received enough forewarning that this might happen to consider the possibilities of opening its cannery during the usual shut-down period. There may simply have not been enough time to get staffing and logistics sorted to get the plant operational in the time required.
“It is arguable, however, that Golden Circle should have responded more positively to the industry it relies upon, particularly when such good fruit was available in good volumes.
“Growers have been affected financially and, perhaps with better communication, the impacts on growers could have been reduced to the benefit of all involved.”