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Update on Panama disease TR4 in bananas

Follow-up tests on a sample taken from a plant on a commercial banana farm in the Tully Valley has returned positive for Panama disease tropical race 4.

Biosecurity signs are a common sight around Tully since Panama disease was found on a banana plantation in 2015

Follow-up tests on a sample taken from a plant on a commercial banana farm in the Tully Valley has returned positive for Panama disease tropical race 4.

Although the result came in much earlier than expected, the vegetative compatibility group test was final and conclusive.

The Palaszczuk Government understands the impact this positive result for Panama disease tropical race 4 will have on the producer involved, the industry and more broadly the community whose lives are intrinsically connected to the industry and the region.

Biosecurity Queensland will ensure that the affected business can continue to operate as seamlessly as possible while the risk to the rest of the industry is minimised.

The owners had already established high standards of biosecurity on their farm and have shown a professional and proactive approach to management of the disease.

Biosecurity Queensland staff continue to monitor on-farm activity and assist the property owners to contain the infestation.

Staff will continue fortnightly surveillance on the affected property to ensure any spread of the disease is detected early and controlled.

Tracing investigations are also underway to try and determine the source of the infestation, and surveillance is occurring on other properties that are linked to the affected property by ownership and shared machinery.

Authorised officers are checking fruit consignments to ensure soil and plant material is not being moved off the affected farm.

The banana industry in Far North Queensland is one of the region’s biggest employers. The latest detection does not mean game over, rather it reinforces the government’s ongoing commitment to control and containment of the disease.

Panama disease tropical race 4 is not harmful to humans and does not affect the fruit. The fungus only affects the health of the plant and its ability to produce fruit. Bananas are still good to eat.

Thanks to an education program undertaken by the government and the growers, the industry has much stronger biosecurity practices now than in 2015.

If you suspect Panama disease in your plants, report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.


More information

Queensland banana farmers ‘hopeful’ after latest Panama disease outbreak (external link, ABC news)

Click here for more information about Panama disease Tropical race 4 or call 13 25 23

To receive updates from Biosecurity Queensland, subscribe to the ‘Biosecurity news’ enewsletter (external link, Biosecurity Queensland)