Latest Panama TR4 news

Panama TR4 Program and Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) form a partnership agreement

The Panama TR4 Program and the ABGC are developing a partnership agreement to jointly fund and deliver the Program in Queensland.

This type of agreement will be the first of its kind for Biosecurity Queensland and the industry. It aligns with one of the themes from the Queensland Biosecurity Strategy— collaborative governance and leadership.

The Panama TR4 Program and ABGC have worked together to manage this disease from the first detection in 2015. This agreement is a natural progression to formalise this collaborative working relationship.

Benefits to industry

  • Co-managing opportunity for how Panama TR4 is contained and controlled.
  • Overseeing an effective and efficient program by managing expenditure and determining priorities.
  • Developing resilience and stability for the program and the banana industry.

The Panama TR4 Program has successfully controlled and contained the disease for over four years. This unparalleled achievement has been due to the collective action of Biosecurity Queensland, the ABGC, individual growers, research bodies, and the wider community.

Palaszczuk Government backs banana industry

The Palaszczuk Government has backed Queensland’s banana industry with an almost $12.1 million boost over 5 years to the fight against Panama TR4.

The Panama TR4 Program will continue until 2022–23 under a cost-sharing agreement between Biosecurity Queensland and the industry through the ABGC. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner, said a recent independent review of the Panama TR4 Program confirmed the importance of tackling the disease in partnership with industry.

“The review stated that the program should continue but must be based on shared responsibility between government and industry,” Mr. Furner said.

“For over 4 years, we have been very successful in containing the disease to just 3 farms in close proximity to each other. A major factor in that success has been the joint approach taken by government, industry, growers, and other key stakeholders.

Biosecurity Queensland is establishing a working group with the ABGC to progress the development of a first-of-its-kind partnership agreement to fund, deliver, design and govern the Panama TR4 Program in Queensland.

This agreement will give industry an opportunity to shape its future. By having a seat at the table, industry can share the decisions on how Panama TR4 is contained and controlled in Far North Queensland. The Queensland Government is working closely with the ABGC and growers to ensure they are informed and engaged on this important next phase

For the full media release visit here.

Options for farming on Panama TR4 affected land

Alternative farming options are available for banana growers on Panama TR4 affected land.

Growing crops, other than bananas, or grazing livestock on a parcel of land that has been confirmed with Panama TR4 may be possible, and Biosecurity Queensland can help assess the situation to see what options are available.

A risk assessment will determine if the parcel of land could be contaminated with Panama TR4, and, based on the assessment, Biosecurity Queensland will tailor the biosecurity requirements for the farm and the situation.

Growers need to meet certain biosecurity requirements and Biosecurity Queensland will work with growers to meet them.

This is to ensure adequate measures are being taken to protect the farm and the wider industry.

Download these fact sheets for more information.

Infested properties

Three commercial banana farms in the Tully Valley in Far North Queensland are confirmed with Panama TR4.

Panama TR4 was first detected in Cavendish banana plants in Far North Queensland’s Tully Valley in March 2015. A second infected property was confirmed in 2017 and a third in 2018.

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) purchased the first infested farm in October 2016. This purchase was funded through an industry levy with additional Commonwealth funding and the farm was subsequently closed down.

Biosecurity Queensland continues to work with the business owners of the 2 operating farms while they continue to trade and meet their on-going biosecurity requirements.

Banana growers, the ABGC and the Panama TR4 Program team are working together to reduce the risk of the disease spreading to protect the wider industry.