WORKSHOPS will be held in North Queensland this week to help banana growers prepare for any future Panama disease outbreak.
Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said growers needed to be ready.
“Although only three commercial banana farms in the Tully Valley have been confirmed with the disease since 2015, we don’t where the disease will strike next,” Mr Furner said.
“If Panama TR4 is detected on a farm, there are biosecurity requirements the grower will immediately need to meet to keep trading.
“These workshops will offer an opportunity for growers to understand what these requirements are and to hear first-hand how other growers are meeting them.
“Growers trading with the disease will be at the workshops to share their experiences and the challenges they face.
“Biosecurity Queensland and ABGC staff will also be available to answer questions and offer technical advice.”
A workshop will be held in Silkwood, at the Silkwood Hotel Function Room from 6.15pm on Thursday.
Another session will be held in Mareeba the following day at the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, John Charles Room on Peters Street from 9.45am.
Panama TR4 Program leader Rhiannon Evans said Panama TR4 was a soilborne fungal disease that is easily spread in infected soil, water and plant material.
The fungus enters through the roots and starves the plant of water and nutrients.
“The disease is not eradicable and can lie dormant in the soil for decades without host plants,” Ms Evans said.
“Panama disease has severely affected commercial banana industries, both in the Northern Territory and abroad.
“Queensland has had the most effective control and containment program for Panama TR4 so far.”