An Australian federal government decision to ban the sale of bananas in supermarkets could have significant ramifications for the food industry, including the impact on the health of the banana industry.
In the wake of the federal government’s decision to phase out the importation of bananas from Australia, a number of states, and even some federal governments, have passed laws restricting the sale and consumption of bananas.
The bans have been implemented in Australia in response to rising levels of malnutrition and under pressure from a number who say the ban is harmful to the health and well-being of consumers.
But a new report from the Australian Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says the ban has not had a positive impact on banana supply chains, and it may even lead to increased price increases for banana consumers.
The report, published in the journal Nature Communications, also highlights a potential link between the ban and a number health problems, including obesity and diabetes.
The FAO report also warns that if the ban goes ahead, there may be an increased need for banana export.
“Bananas are an important export crop and there’s a real concern that if bananas are stopped from being exported, then other crops in the supply chain may not be able to compete,” said Katherine MacLeod, the lead author of the report and a researcher at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney.
“We have some research showing that there are a number risks associated with exporting bananas.”
The banana industry is concerned about the impact of the ban, but has been given the go-ahead by the Federal Government to export bananas.
“There are a lot of barriers to exporting bananas from the region because of the drought, the cyclone, and all the things that are going on,” said Tom Gough, chief executive of the Australian Banana Growers Association.
“It’s not really a very big deal to export.”
Mr Gough said the association had received a letter from a company that was concerned about bananas being sent overseas and wanted to export the banana in Australia.
“They were very happy to export it but they were very worried about the price,” he said.
“So they did send a letter to the FFA telling them, ‘You can export bananas, but you have to ship bananas to a banana processing facility, or send them to another banana processing company’.”
But Mr Gough was confident the ban would not have a major impact on fruit trade.
“If the export ban goes forward, there will be a few more bananas shipped overseas and people will still be able buy them in Australia,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“What it’s going to do is make it difficult for banana growers to make a profit, but we can’t see that affecting the wholesale price of bananas.”‘
Banana growers are in crisis’The FAE’s report warns that the ban will have a detrimental effect on banana growers.
“The impact on bananas from exporting is not clear,” the report states.
“Currently, there is little information on the impacts of the import ban on the export of bananas to Australia, but the FAO notes that there is no clear evidence that it would impact on local supply chains.”
The FAOs report suggests that if an import ban were to continue, “many growers in Australia would find it increasingly difficult to meet the demand for their products and, therefore, could not sell as much of their bananas”.
“Banana prices will likely increase and, in the long term, these increased prices will affect the price of Australian consumers and this could result in a loss of jobs in Australia.”
Mr MacLeod said that the impact could also have an impact on food prices.
“Food prices are expected to increase as a result of the current import ban,” she said.
“It’s a difficult trade, but it’s one that banana growers in the region are in need of.”