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Hope Vale goes bananas


Damien Creek works at the Hope Vale Banana Farm
31 Jan 2014

The small Aboriginal community of Hope Vale in Far North Queensland is now home to an 80 hectare banana plantation, a new agricultural business that is providing 40 fulltime jobs and casual work for a number of locals.

In 2012, workers completed the first stage of the plantation with 16,800 banana plants across 20 hectares. Training and industry qualifications were also made available through CDEP to locals to construct the 302 mega-litre irrigation dam that supports the banana farm.

Manager of the Hope Vale Banana Farm, Kenny Reid, said that opening up new opportunities had created generational change for the kids of Hope Vale, and some of the younger employees are keen to work longer hours.

“The people’s enthusiasm towards the farm and what’s actually happening is great, the focus is to become financially viable as a farm, stand-alone without funding which as far as I know is one of the first in the horticultural industry within Aboriginal communities,” he said.

Members of the community say the banana farm is the best thing that’s ever happened to Hope Vale.

“It’s a great opportunity for the whole community as well, I think it was the first full time employment I got living in Hope Vale here,” farm employee Damian Creek said.

The Hope Vale Banana Farm has created many jobs for local people and has helped lift community spirit in the region.

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The project was initiated through the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council and Dole Australia Pty Ltd with support from both the Australian and Queensland Governments.

 The Hopevale Banana Farm receives government support to help increase employment opportunities, which is an important part of Closing the Gap in the local area.