The Australian Banana Growers’ Council’s (ABGC) bid for the buy-out or lease of a North Queensland banana farm infested with Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4) disease has been taken off the table.
The peak industry body confirmed acquisition negotiations with the owners of the 166ha property in the Tully Valley had concluded unsuccessfully, with no further discussions planned.
“The ABGC, on behalf of the banana industry, spoke with the Robson family (owners) about the possibility of an industry buy-out of their farm to allow the farming operations to be closed down as part of measures to reduce the risk of TR4 spreading,” ABGC chair Doug Phillips explained.
“Also discussed was an alternative proposal whereby the farm could be leased from the family so they could retain ownership of the property and receive lease payments while the farm was out of banana production. Agreement was not able to be reached and our talks have now ended on both of these proposals.”
Separate buy-out discussions are also understood to have taken place with other banana growers and industry members.
The property remains under quarantine for TR4. Phillips said the industry would continue to consider every option for reducing the risk of TR4 spreading.
“It’s only through these sorts of discussions that we will find the best possible solutions,” Phillips explained. “The ABGC would like to thank the Robson family for participating in the discussions and considering the proposals put to them.
“The ABGC would also like to thank other growers and banana industry members for their participation in discussions with us and we look forward to continuing our talks on TR4 issues.”