Panama disease

Panama disease tropical race 4, or Panama TR4, is a serious disease of bananas. It is caused by a fungus that lives in soil and travels up the stem of the plant before blocking the tissues that carry water and nutrients. Eventually Panama TR4 will kill the plant.

Panama TR4 is easily spread by the movement of infected banana planting material, and contaminated soil and water. Anything that moves soil and water can move the disease - people, vehicles, machinery, equipment and animals can spread Panama TR4. People and machinery movement are the biggest threat of disease spread.

In June 2022, Panama TR4, was confirmed by Biosecurity Queensland on a sixth property in Far North Queensland. The disease has been earlier detected on five farms located in the Tully Valley, between 2015 and 2020. All properties are in close proximity of each other.

Since the initial detection in March 2015, the joint government-industry funded Panama TR4 Program has worked closely with the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) to control and contain the disease through surveillance on farms, compliance on known infested properties, and communication and education activities. This approach has led Queensland to have one of the most successful control and containment strategies in the world.

Everyone has a role to play in supporting our banana industry and preventing any further spread of Panama TR4.

On-farm biosecurity is the best way to protect a farm and the industry from this disease.

If you believe you have plants infected with Panama TR4, call Biosecurity Queensland immediately on 13 25 23.

To receive regular updates, subscribe to the Panama TR4 Update.

Managing Panama TR4

Panama TR4 is in Far North Queensland and it’s here to stay. It’s best to be prepared.

Banana growers, the broader banana industry, the community, and the Queensland Government are all working together on building knowledge and awareness about the disease, and developing and implementing actions to minimise its spread. It’s all about reducing the movement of soil and plant material.

Growers have done a lot to protect their livelihoods by putting up signs and fences, washing down machinery, and restricting and managing movement on and off their farms.

We must continue to work together by ensuring the Australian banana industry, with the support of the Queensland Government, implements best practice biosecurity to manage this disease.

You can help by never entering a banana farm without the grower’s permission. And if you do go onto a banana farm, arrive clean and leave clean to ensure you aren’t transporting the disease.

For more information on how you can help to protect Queensland’s banana farms from Panama TR4, visit panamatr4protect.com.au.

Watch this short video to find out more about Panama TR4 and what you can do to protect the banana industry from this serious disease

See how one grower is getting Panama TR4 ready and find out how we can be ready for PanamaTR4.