Hort scorched but still growing | OPINION

Hort scorched but still growing | OPINION

Opinion
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Bushfires may have slapped horticulture around a bit, but it'll get back up.

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EDITORIAL

FEBRUARY is the last month of summer.

For some, the season will have seemed about six months long.

It has been an arduous one; hot, muggy, smoky and devastating.

While there has been plenty of rain about the place in the middle of this month, the showing of nature's fury is hard to forget.

There have been some mind-rattling images to emerge.

The pictures of walls of fire sweeping across roads were forceful, but the photos of the remaining damage were some of the hardest to digest.

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The ones showing homes destroyed and people struggling to comprehend their future were loaded with emotion.

Horticulture was not left untouched.

Images of smouldering and ruined beehives, scorched vineyards, browned-out apple orchards with melted netting covering them, banana plantations looking savaged, mango orchards in disarray and pineapple plantations with barely anything left; they all painted a grim mosaic for the industry overall.

While government assistance is welcomed, what really helps get people through such times are the human circles in which they dwell.

The family that comes around, the volunteer community groups which pitch in and the mates who are there with a listening ear.

As divided as it is among so many different crops, horticulture is one of those circles as well.

The discussion over connections between a changing climate and catastrophic fire events seemed to only drive the confusion, angst and speculation.

Those growers who have suffered fire (plus flood, hail or storm damage since) need to know that the wider Australian horticulture industry feels for them.

There are businesses, livelihoods and co-ops which will not be the same.

Watching a crop, orchard or greenhouse go up in flames is an image that will not be forgotten by those who have experienced it.

Investigations and commissions will make politicians and bureaucrats feel better.

They will provide a point of blame, something that society seems to thrive on.

It'll be vital those doing the rebuilding and those helping to get them back on their feet, don't get dragged down by the over-analysis and finger pointing.

The discussion over connections between a changing climate and catastrophic fire events seemed to only drive the confusion, angst and speculation.

Lessons have been learned and sickening memories made.

But the industry will move on.

Now is the time for rebirth however.

Now is the time to rebuild, refocus and return.

It'll be vital those doing the rebuilding and those helping to get them back on their feet, don't get dragged down by the over-analysis and finger pointing.

Agriculture remains one of the most stoic of all the industries within Australia.

It has taken so many beatings over the years that standing back up again and powering head has become second nature.

And so, in the face of all that has been, it will pick itself up and dust off, yet again.

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