The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) has received more than $300,000 in Government funding to support North Queensland growers in protecting their farms from Panama disease.
Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne said the funding will enable the ABGC to hire specialist biosecurity advisors to help banana growers improve on-farm biosecurity practices.
“These advisors will be appointed with the support of industry in response to calls from growers for more biosecurity advice about how to better safeguard their farms. The advisors would work directly with growers to more thoroughly educate them about Panama disease and help them improve on-farm biosecurity practices,” he said in a statement.
“While wash-downs and decontamination procedures are practices that all growers should have in place, they are not the only solution. There are a whole range of measures that can be put in place to help reduce the risk of disease and pests.”
He said the advisors will work with individual farmers to help them tailor biosecurity plans specific to their operations, adding that the practice will not only benefit individuals that seek assistance, but the industry as a whole.
“This is not only a good approach for their own farms, but will help to protect the $600 million banana industry as a whole,” the Minister said.
The Taskforce is made up of key Queensland Government agencies, the Australian Government, the Australian Banana Growers Council and representatives of Local Government including the Mayors of the two affected councils.
The Minister also added that Biosecurity Queensland – which coordinates the Government’s efforts to prevent, respond to, and recover from pests and diseases – was continuing to work with the two quarantined properties to assist them in meeting the conditions of interim protocols which will allow them to send fruit to market.
“Biosecurity Queensland has established agreed protocols with industry to allow the quarantined properties to harvest. Once the properties meet those conditions, safe harvesting can then occur,” said Mr Byrne.