Queensland Takes Its Banana Technology To The World

Queensland Takes Its Banana Technology To The World

Queensland Minister for Innovation Leeanne Enoch

Palaszczuk Government-Backed Banana Farmer On The Road To Global Success

Victor P Taffa

A Queensland business which received Palaszczuk Government funding is poised to build a mega-factory for a south-east Asian company as it takes its invention to the world to create Natural Evolution International.

Natural Evolution Foods, which is transforming waste bananas into a highly nutritious food source, today (Wednesday) announced it had struck the major international deal with the south-east Asian company.

Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said it was inspiring to see the far north Queensland company which received $250,000 funding from the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund take its vision to the world.

“Natural Evolution Foods is a great example of what can be achieved with creativity and hard work.” Ms. Enoch said.

“It’s a great example of why this government is investing in people and companies to help turn new ideas into new industries and new jobs.”

Walkamin-based business is converting bananas previously being wasted because they were not suitable for the supermarket, into highly nutritious banana flour, health supplements, healing ointments and skincare.

Company has patented a manufacturing system that ensures consistently high quality processing. It launched in Japan recently, with the UK and Europe to follow soon, and the US and Canada later in the year.

Founder Rob Watkins said the company was set to go global with “a product that could address starvation”.

“We’ve now confirmed a deal with a company in south-east Asia to construct and build a super-manufacturing facility (which will be sent overseas), and the beginning of Natural Evolution Foods International.” Mr. Watkins said.

“Potential for these products is endless and what we’re doing now is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Mr. Watkins said the company recently named the winner of the famed Edison Award in New York used the Ignite Ideas funding as a platform to explore overseas interest in his technology.

Mr. Watkins said up to 10 contractors have already been brought on board in the past year, with 8 to 10 full-time jobs expected to be created next year.

“New mega factory, to be built on our existing Walkamin site and sent overseas where it will be constructed will allow even more jobs to be created in coming years.” Mr. Watkins said.

Ms. Enoch said the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund has already backed 119 small businesses with nearly $16.5 Million in funding to support the rapid commercialisation of their market-ready Queensland innovations.

Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government’s $420 Million whole-of-government initiative, supporting jobs across a range of industry sectors.

QLD Minister for Innovation Leeane Enoch









Banana Industry Facts

According to the Queensland Government, Queensland produced more than 95% of Australia’s bananas in 2014-15.

According to the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC)

Economic Contribution

In 2015/16, 690 banana farms (of more than 0.5ha) marketed a record 393,000 tonnes (based on national levy figures). 371,000t plus was marketed in 2014/15, which was also a record year.

The following table shows significant increases in Queensland as the dominant producing State, over the last two decades.

Australian Banana Production (tonnes)

Year                QLD               NSW               WA                 NT                  Total

1995                149,300           49,100             16,200             1,100               215,700

2005                253,000           7,900               3,500               100                  264,500

2015                353,500           16,000             1,000*             500*                371,000

*Cyclone Olwyn destroyed Carnarvon’s production and the Freckle eradication program meant all NT banana plants in the Top End were destroyed.


QLD                Queensland

NSW               New South Wales

WA                 Western Australia

NT                   Northern Territory