North Queensland

Australia: Next cyclone could spread Panama disease

Banana growers in North Queensland fear the next cyclone to hit the area could spread a disastrous crop disease that has taken a foothold in the region. A big cyclone could have disastrous long-term consequences for Australia's biggest banana-producing region, potentially spreading a devastating crop disease.

Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) director Leon Collins said a cyclone could spread the Panama disease, which would be "game over" for their crops.
"Once you've got it in your area it will never be settled. It's something we'll have to deal with for the rest of our lives," he said.

Far-north Queensland is yet to experience a large cyclonic event or huge wet spell since Panama disease was discovered in Tully in 2015. Sbs.com reported that the last major cyclones to hit the region were Yasi in 2011 and Larry in 2006. Both events devastated banana plantations in the area and drove up prices, but if a cyclone was to spread Panama disease, which can live in the soil for up to 90 years, the effects could be more long-lasting.

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