North Queensland farmers are being forced to leave hundreds of tonnes of pineapples to rot due to a glut of the fruit.
Ideal growing conditions across Queensland have led to a bumper season, forcing down the amount of money paid to farmers for their crop.
In many cases, it’s not enough to cover the cost of production.
Damien Berra, who farms at Rollingstone, about 50 kilometres north of Townsville, has left more than 40 tonnes of pineapples in a pile to rot or to be given away to be used as feed for livestock.
“It’s devastating, all the hard work you put in over the years, just ends up in a pile of rotting fruit,” he said.
Stephen Pace, who chairs the peak industry group Australian Pineapple Growers, also farms in the area.
He said it was depressing to see so much fruit go to waste.
“It’s a sad fact it’s better to discard it rather than to put it on the market and drag down an already oversupplied market,” Mr Pace said
A social media post made by business NQ Paradise Pines to raise awareness of the issue has gone viral.
Since Monday it has been shared by more than 15,000 people.
NQ Paradise Pines manager Robert Richardson said problems faced by growers were being exacerbated by food manufacturer Golden Circle, and its decision not to open its cannery during the industry’s busiest period.
“You’d assume the cannery would look at the growing conditions of a year and alter their schedule for processing. They could have taken full advantage of fruit that’s out there now,” he said.
He warned consumers there would be a shortage of canned pineapple made from local produce in the coming months.
“The price they want to pay makes its uneconomical for growers here to do it and it seems to me they can create conditions where they can import foreign pineapples into Australia,” he said.
Mr Berra admitted while farmers could do more to reduce waste, he was urging families to eat more of the tropical fruit.
“More people need to be eating pineapple, eat more fresh fruit, more pineapples,” he said.