Latest Panama TR4 news

New Panama TR4 Program Management Board

22 April 2020

A new management board to oversee the Panama TR4 Program in Queensland until 2023 met for the first time in April 2020, heralding the start of a unique government-industry partnership to help protect the future of Australia’s $580 million banana industry.

The Panama TR4 Program Management Board (the Board) will oversee the continued delivery and governance of the Panama TR4 Program (Program), which was established in 2015 to control and contain the disease.

The Queensland Government and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (the ABGC) will jointly fund, govern and deliver the Program until 30 June 2023.

In 2019, the Queensland Government committed a further $12.089 million from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2023 to manage Panama TR4 in Queensland and the ABGC will begin co-funding the Program through grower levies, eventually contributing 50 per cent of funding for the Program in 2022/23.

Read more about the Panama TR4 Program Management Board.

Read the media statement by Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, The Honourable Mark Furner.

Infested properties

26 February 2020

There are now four commercial banana farms in the Tully Valley in Far North Queensland 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 property was confirmed in July 2017, a third in February 2018 and a fourth in February 2020. All four infested properties are in close proximity to each other.

The 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's Panama TR4 Program continues to work with the business owners of the three operating farms while they continue to trade and meet their on-going biosecurity requirements.

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

Panama disease tropical race 4 confirmed on fourth commercial banana farm

26 February 2020

A fourth case of Panama TR4 on a Tully Valley farm in North Queensland has been confirmed by a final conclusive test. Biosecurity Queensland officers identified banana plants displaying symptoms typical of Panama TR4 during a routine inspection of the property in late January 2020. One sample from these plants returned a positive result to a preliminary test for Panama TR4 and underwent further diagnostic testing. Read the Diagnosing Panama TR4 factsheet for more information.

The commercial banana farm is in close proximity to the three previously confirmed infested Panama TR4 properties.

When Panama TR4 is confirmed on a property the grower must meet immediate biosecurity requirements before being able to trade. Thanks to an existing high standard of on-farm biosecurity measure, and with support from a dedicated team of biosecurity officers, this farm resumed trading within four working days.

Read the Media Release

Biosecurity is everyone’s business

The Panama TR4 Program continues to support the newly infested farm by:

  • providing a dedicated team to work with the grower to meet biosecurity requirements and reduce production downtime
  • working with Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) to manage the risk of disease spread to the rest of the industry; and

Growers:

Biosecurity Queensland is urging all growers to maintain their vigilance in the wake of the fourth detection of Panama TR4. On-farm biosecurity is the best way to protect a farm from #PanamaTR4 as well as reporting any sick plants immediately to 13 25 23.

  • check your current on-farm biosecurity measures are working (fences, signs, footbaths etc….)
  • manage how people and vehicles move on your property – set up an exclusion, separation and farming zone. Read the Banana best management practices to find out more.
  • if you need help on the best way to manage your on-farm biosecurity:
    • talk to other growers or your ABGC representative
    • to arrange an on-farm visit call Tegan Kukulies at Agri-Science Queensland on 07 4220 4152 ; or call Rebecca Breaden at Biosecurity Queensland on 07 4091 8140.

If growers see plants with symptoms of Panama TR4, call Biosecurity Queensland immediately to 13 25 23. Early detection and destruction of infected plants helps to slow disease spread and can extend the on-going viability of a farm. Read the Panama TR4 Grower’s kit for more information.

Community members:

Residents in, and visitors to, the region are also being asked to be vigilant and never enter a banana farm without permission. People and machinery movement are the biggest threat of disease spread through soil movement.

  • never enter a banana farm without permission
  • if you have permission, come clean and leave clean and follow farm rules
  • remember, the disease does not affect the fruit. Bananas are still good to eat.

On-farm biosecurity is the best way to protect a farm and the industry from Panama TR4.

Options for farming on Panama TR4 affected land

17 April 2019

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.