Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) today confirmed the presence of Panama tropical race 4 on a fourth Tully Valley banana farm. The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) was advised that a final vegetative compatibility group test (biological test) has conclusively confirmed the presence of the disease in a sample taken from the farm.
The grower was issued a TR4 notice in early February after a suspect plant found during routine BQ surveillance returned positive to preliminary diagnostic testing for the disease.
Since then, the grower has worked closely with BQ and successfully complied with all their requirements. While the grower was able to resume trading four days after the notice was given, this was at a reduced level.
ABGC Chair Stephen Lowe praised the grower for their ongoing efforts at this difficult time. “The confirmation of Panama TR4 on a fourth North Queensland banana farm is obviously extremely disappointing for the industry, and particularly for the grower concerned,” he said.
Mr Lowe said the grower was able to significantly reduce production downtime because they had good biosecurity measures already in place. Biosecurity measures include footbath or footwear exchange, excluding unnecessary vehicle movement and managing plant material.
“This confirmation is another reminder for growers to be vigilant and ensure they protect their farms and the broader industry,” Mr Lowe said.
Mr Lowe said it was business as usual in relation to the Panama TR4 Program including biosecurity regulation of infested properties.
“We know our growers are incredibly resilient and, as an industry, we will continue to meet the challenges of Panama TR4.”
Those living in or travelling to the region are asked to be mindful of quarantine areas and to stay out of all banana farms unless invited by the grower. The disease does not affect the fruit. Bananas are still good to eat. Panama TR4 was first detected in Far North Queensland on a Tully Valley banana farm in 2015.
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