The discovery of what is suspected to be banana plant disease Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4) on a plantation in North Queesland has sparked fears for the future of the Australian state’s banana industry.
Growers were placed on high-alert last week when a farm in Tully was quarantined for the disease. Biosecurity Queensland has continued to investigate the suspected case, with test results set to be announced on Wednesday (11 March).
The highly-transient nature of the disease has promted wide-spread concerns amongst the local banana industry, with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ principal horticulturist, Stewart Lindsay, telling growers to brace for the worst.
““The banana world as you knew it on Wednesday has finished – it’ll never be the same again,” Lindsay said. “Business as usual, the things you have always done, the things that you’ve taken for granted in the way the banana industry runs, will not necessarily be the same in the future. Every person or vehicle that comes on an off your property should now be considered a possible threat and pathway of this disease.”
Lindsay’s comments came at an industry meeting hosted by the Australian Banana Growers’ Council in Innisfail last week. A similar meeting was also held in Tully. The meetings drew over 400 growers and industry members.