The Sweeter Banana co-operative was formed by a group of growers in 1993. The idea was to develop a recognisable brand so that Perth consumers could identify and purchase their banana of choice, the Carnarvon Sweeter Banana. The co-operative is owned and operated by 25 farmers all on family run farms on the banks of the Gascoyne River. Farming together funded Sweeter Banana in 2018 to undertake a feasibility study to expand their business operations.

Success Story

  • Five years ago, the region was hit by a cyclone and every single crop was destroyed. It took 18 months to return. Without the co-operative it could have been the end of the industry.
  • A vertically integrated Co-operative that represents 18 growers and 60% of banana production in the region.
  • Manages between $8 – $10 million of turnover each year.
  • Moved from selling 100% of products on the market floor for unknown price and market, to today, where 90% of their bananas are sold to direct markets and packed to order.

The Catalyst for Change

  • The industry had contracted to a point that it had halved in numbers.
  • The contraction was the result of competition: larger tropical QLD banana was preferred over the smaller and less perfect Carnarvon banana.
  • Growers were getting less return than their outlay costs.
  • The industry was about to collapse, and growers knew a change was needed.

The Opportunity

  • To form a co-operative to promote their banana’s point of difference.
  • A marketing association was established in 1993 to create the brand.
  • The co-operative was formed from the original marketing group in 2002 when the central packing shed was founded.

The Challenge/s

  • Developing trust: ensure you have a similar vision, understanding and clear, effective communication. Are you in it for the same reasons? Are you wanting to achieve the same results?
  • Capital investment: putting money into something ‘unknown’.
  • External influences: people have a vested interest in growers being divided.

Future Looking

  • Talk to others in the region and or in your industry. What are the barriers to success? How could a collaborative model improve your return and resilience?
  • Look for opportunities to value-add. What could you do to enhance and build the financial opportunities for your business or collaboration?
  • Work together. Once established, how can you continue to deepen and strengthen your relationships and your group?

Find out more…

See our work in action

We've assisted over 30,000 farmers, fishers and foresters across the country build resilience and embrace opportunity through collaboration. We believe the future looks bright working together.

If you are a farmer, in business, in government, a researcher or a not-for-profit wanting to build a better future, view our past work to see what opportunities we can seed together.

See our work