A renewed round of negotiations on the proposed industry buyout of an Australian banana farm infested with the Tropical Race 4 (TR4) Panama disease has again concluded without a deal being reached.
The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) said it would now focus on other options in response to the outbreak, including on-farm biosecurity measures, surveillance and containment strategies.
“The ABGC has put every effort into progressing discussions on a buyout that would allow the closure of the farm’s operations as one way of reducing the risk of TR4 spreading,” ABGC chair Doug Phillips said in a statement.
“It’s time to acknowledge the buyout option has been fully discussed, we accept the outcome and respect the views of all parties associated with the talks and the rights of the farm’s owners to continue farming bananas under the quarantine protocols that are in place.
The additional round of discussions was held in mid-February with the North Queensland farm’s owners after the Australian Government provided additional funding to an initial banana industry buyout proposal made in January. Following its unsuccessful January proposal, the ABGC said it was unlikely negotiations would re-open.
Phillips said the ABGC is continuing to represent the banana industry on TR4 issues and to provide input into the response being managed by Biosecurity Queensland.
“On 3 March it will be one year since TR4 was detected in North Queensland on the one Tully Valley banana farm. It’s extremely encouraging that there have been no detections on other farms,” he said.