Panama disease

Panama disease tropical race 4 has been confirmed by Biosecurity Queensland on 5 properties in Far North Queensland.

Since the initial detection in March 2015 the Queensland Government funded Panama TR4 Program (the 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.

On-farm biosecurity is the best way to protect a farm and the industry from this soil-borne 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 Program Update, by selecting Biosecurity news within the eNewsletter section and Bananas under Biosecurity Queensland Alerts.

Managing Panama TR4

Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) is a serious disease of bananas. It is caused by a fungus that lives in the soil and is easily spread by movement of infected banana plants and planting material, and contaminated soil and water. The fungus travels up the stem, blocks the tissues that carry water and nutrients, and eventually kills the plant. People, machinery and animals can spread the disease.

Panama TR4 was first found in Queensland on a commercial banana farm in 2015 in the Tully Valley. It was then detected on a second farm in 2017, a third farm in 2018 and a fourth farm in February 2020. All farms are in close proximity to each other. The first time it was detected in Australia was in the Northern Territory in 1997.

Panama TR4 can’t be eradicated and can survive in the soil for decades without a host plant. It is one of the greatest threats to worldwide banana production, and in some countries, it has had a devastating impact on industries and livelihoods. If not managed, it has the potential to do the same in Far North Queensland.

Collective action to ensure the implementation of sound on-farm biosecurity measures and early detection of any new infestations, along with destruction of infected plants in accordance with biosecurity protocols, will help to slow disease spread and extend the on-going viability of any impacted farms.

In April 2020, a government and industry Panama TR4 Program Management Board (the Board) was established to jointly fund, deliver and govern the Panama TR4 Program (Program) until 2023. The Board, made up of equal government and industry representation, will make key decisions on the future management of the disease and ensure the Program continues to be effective and efficient.

The Panama TR4 Program team is located in Moresby QLD. Contact us (07) 4091 8140 or panamatr4@daf.qld.gov.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 PanamaTR4ready.