Young banana producer set back twice in two years by destructive coastal winds

Cyclone Oma delivers wicked kick in the gusts


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Destroyed Cavendish banana plants smashed by 80km/h wind gusts at Duranbah near Tweed Heads on Friday, courtesy Cyclone Oma.

Destroyed Cavendish banana plants smashed by 80km/h wind gusts at Duranbah near Tweed Heads on Friday, courtesy Cyclone Oma.

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Two years after Cyclone Debbie wreaked havoc on a Tweed Valley banana producer, Debbie's windy brother Oma delivered another destructive blow.

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He didn't bring much rain, in spite of every North Coast producer's hopes and prayers. However, Cyclone Oma sure delivered a kick in the gusts.

The slow moving tropical system continues to evade forecasters best predictions, today moving further out to sea, but on Friday it delivered wind-borne destruction to a young banana producer on the Tweed who was still reeling from disaster by Debbie in 2017.

That year the record-breaking cyclone brought winds with enough torque to destroy newly planted bananas on Mr Singh's leased red soil at Duranbah. Last year the remaining banana stools were weak and vulnerable but this year they were up and away, surviving the dry and setting heavy bunches of fruit after rain early in the new year.

"When bananas are bunching heavily they are at their weakest point," he explained.

Those heavy-set plants were ripe for a kicking by Oma as wind gusts from south and south-east topped 80 kilometres and hour during the day on Friday.

"We had the bananas supported by string on two sides but the plants just twisted off in the high winds," said Mr Singh who estimates 95 per cent loss of his 15,000 strong plantation, equating to 25,000 cartons of bananas.

"I'm only trying to have a go. I've put too much into this to walk away now."

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