Through a $1.7 million collaboration, banana growers along the east coast of Australia are being armed with a plethora of tools to guard against pests and diseases. Delivered through Hort Innovation and led by the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, the surveillance and grower education program provides an array of tools to protect the $500 million banana industry.
Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said addressing the threat of significant banana diseases, as well improving grower capacity to manage them, is a critical priority for the banana industry. “Research shows if Panama TR4 alone was to spread widely it would cost the Australian banana industry $5 billion over ten years. The challenge of having to deal with TR4 in combination with other significant banana diseases on a property would have an even more serious impact.”
Currently, TR4 is contained to Far North Queensland and the Northern Territory. It is considered the biggest threat to Australian banana growers. However, if left unchecked, there are a range of other pests and diseases that could be just as devastating to the banana industry and the communities it supports.