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AU: Proactive approach to banana industry

A team led by Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation has developed a comprehensive research program aimed at protecting Australia's $450 million banana industry.

For the next five years, QAAFI principal research scientist Associate Professor André Drenth of The University of Queensland will spearhead the $6 million Banana Plant Protection Program.

"The banana industry is very familiar with the two main risks to plant production: adverse weather, and pests and diseases," Dr Drenth said.

"While we can't control the first one, this program seeks to bring together key research activities required for long-term banana health and streamline plant protection.

"The scale and scope of the program will enable economic delivery of effective outcomes for the industry as a whole and on a national basis."

Funding for the project has come from money levied from banana growers and from Horticulture Australia Limited.

Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry science leader Garry Fullelove said the collaborative program was good news for the Australian banana industry.

"This joint initiative brings together a broad range of plant protection knowledge into one project to help ensure the ongoing high health status of one of Australia's major horticultural industries," Mr Fullelove said.

Dr Drenth says a proactive approach to the industry be maintained if the potential impact of pests and diseases is to be minimised.

The program is designed to help the banana industry achieve its previously stated desire of delivering a five per cent increase in production efficiency “with minimal to no environmental impact” by 2014.

Source: www.uq.edu.au

Publication date: 4/26/2012


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