Disease-stricken farms send out first banana shipments

Image credit: www.FreeDigitalPhotos.Net user: foto76

Queensland Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne has welcomed the news for the first shipment of bananas from the two farms at Tully and Mareeba that are under quarantine for Panama disease tropical race 4.

Image credit: www.FreeDigitalPhotos.Net user: foto76
Image credit: www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net user: foto76

“At the start of this week, harvesting at these two farms resumed under strict interim arrangements developed by Biosecurity Queensland in consultation with the growers and industry,” the Minister said in a statement.

“I am very pleased that these growers have been able to restart their operations with trucks loaded with pallets of bananas leaving their premises yesterday and today. The bananas are bound for New South Wales and Western Australia.”

He said both properties were working to strict biosecurity guidelines which allowed harvesting while stopping any risk of further disease spread.

“After more than eight weeks of this response, these two properties are still the only banana farms where Panama disease has been confirmed,” Mr Byrne added.

“We are working hard to keep it that way. Through close cooperation with industry and these individual growers we have succeeded in putting in place the most stringent biosecurity requirements that allow production to resume while safeguarding the wider industry.”

Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) Deputy Chairman Adrian Crema also welcomed the news, saying it was great to see the two farms once again sending bananas to market.

“Both growers have worked extremely hard to meet the biosecurity requirements and it gives the industry a lot of confidence to see these farms back in production. Banana growers need to know that there are biosecurity arrangements in place for Panama disease tropical race 4-infected properties to keep farming.”

Earlier this week, the ABGC received more than $300,000 in Government funding to support North Queensland growers in protecting their farms from Panama disease.

The funding will enable the ABGC to hire specialist biosecurity advisors to help banana growers improve on-farm biosecurity practices.

For more information on preventing Panama disease visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au