Banana industry on Panama alert

Banana industry on alert as Panama tests to be confirmed


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Diagnostic sample tests are yet to return results from a Panama TR4 detection in North Queensland.

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Diagnostic sample tests are yet to return results from a Panama TR4 detection in North Queensland.

After a suspicious outbreak was reported on a Tully farm last week, Biosecurity Queensland have since reported there was no new information since the announcement.

A Biosecurity Queensland’s Chief Biosecurity Officer, Dr Jim Thompson said it could take up to six weeks before the confirmatory tests for the Panama disease tropical race 4 can be confirmed.

“The samples have to be grown in the lab, and there is a gestation period for that. You also need that six weeks for the fungus to grow,” he said.

“Until then the case is being treated as if it is a confirmed positive and on farm biosecurity measures in place will continue.

“The property owners are working with Biosecurity Queensland to control and contain any disease and mitigate the risk of further spread. They’re exceptionally proactive and already have strict on-farm biosecurity measures in place on their property.

“The property owners are erecting exclusion fencing around the area to minimise the potential risk of disease spread while diagnostic testing is completed.

“We will be working with them and the peak industry body, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, to provide support and advice as required.”

Plants with suspected symptoms of Panama disease is a legal requirement, and The Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) is urging growers to maintain their on-farm biosecurity to protect their properties from Panama disease tropical race 4.

“The initial molecular test has come back positive. It will be four to six weeks before the definitive test results are known,” ABGC Chair, Stephen Lowe said.

“Nonetheless, growers need to protect their farms as this TR4 risk is not going away.

“As the disease is spread through soil, mud and infected plant material, it is essential that people, vehicles and machinery and equipment are appropriately decontaminated on property entry and exit.”

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