PANAMA has been confirmed on a commercial banana farm in the Tully Valley today, after a plant showing signs of Panama Tropical Race 4 was sent to Brisbane for testing.
The case was identified on the second farm where Panama had already been detected, in July 2017.
Three farms have now tested positive to Panama TR4 in the region after it was first detected in Queensland on Cavendish banana plants on a farm in the Tully Valley in March 2015. The disease was detected on the second property, which today again tested positive, in July 2017. The third case was detected in January this year.
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner confirmed the positive result.
“Testing by Biosecurity Queensland experts has confirmed that the second property to have reported an incursion of Panama TR-4 has now had another positive on-farm result,” Mr Furner said.
“As previously stated by the Australian Banana Growers Council, Panama TR-4 is impossible to eradicate, but that hasn’t diminished the resolve of the Palaszczuk Government to protect Queensland’s banana industry.”
Mr Furner said the State Government had allocated more than $27 million to limit the spread of this disease that has the ability to decimate entire plantations.
“This rapid rollout, administered by Biosecurity Queensland, has ensured farms that have returned positive results have been able to continue to operate,” Mr Furner said.
“But this latest detection shows that there is more to be done.”
Mr Furner said a Panama TR-4 ready campaign had recently been launched in a bit to educate anyone associated with the industry about how to protect farms from disease.
”It’s also important to remember that Panama TR-4 has no impact on humans and bananas grown in FNQ are not only safe to eat, but also delicious,” he said.
“I encourage everyone to support our Queensland banana farmers by choosing locally grown produce next time you’re at the shops.”
It comes after one of the regions’ largest banana growers Cameron Mackay said while containment was working, it was only really biding time for growers.
Mr Mackay said work was underway to breed a Panama resistent banana variety that also tasted good, which he expected would be developed and introduced into production within five years.
Australian Banana Growers’ Council Chair Stephen Lowe said while the detection was disappointing for the farm involved, it did not greatly alter operations on the already infested property.
“This property has been operating with TR4 for almost a year and the discovering of an additional infected plant does not change its existing biosecurity situation," Mr Lowe said.
“As I have previously stated, for this property to have gone almost 12 months without any new detections is really quite remarkable, considering the rapid pace this disease has spread elsewhere across the world.
“We continue to offer our full support to the family involved. Their efforts to date in controlling this disease have been exceptional and we thank them for their continued support.”
Mr Lowe said the latest confirmation was a timely reminder for all growers to review their own on-farm biosecurity measures and to report any suspect plants to Biosecurity Queensland.”