• Mark Smith

    Farm Manager/Darwin Fruit Farm

  • Mark Smith is the Farm Manager at Darwin Fruit Farms. Mark started his working life qualifying in a trade before moving on in 1986 to growing bananas at a banana farm in Kununurra, WA. The farm grew to become the largest farm in the state. In 1994 Mark moved with the company to the Northern Territory to take advantage of sandier loam soils and a climate more suitable to banana farming. In 1997, Panama TR4 was confirmed at a farm 50km away and by 2006 there was only one of the nine original commercial banana farms still operating in the Territory. Working on a TR4 infected farm makes Mark’s farming work more complicated with the need to manage the farming tasks around the fungal disease. A range of strains of the Cavendish banana were tried on the farm, all with different growing characteristics that requiring adjustments to the way they are managed. As well as Panama disease affecting NT bananas, in 2014 the banana freckle disease was identified in the NT resulting in a national response that lead to all banana plants in the NT having to be removed. Replanting bananas at the Darwin Fruit Farms property only recommenced in early 2017. The company has increased banana production to 70 acres of producing bananas as well as diversifying into growing pineapples and Honey Gold mangoes. Away from work, Mark loves being with his family and has a passion for fishing and motorcycles.