Banana Freckle Response

Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii) is a serious fungal disease affecting banana plants and fruit.

Since July 2013, the Australian banana industry has been involved in a national response to an outbreak of Banana Freckle detected on Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory.

The joint government and industry response is working to rid the Northern Territory, and therefore Australia, of Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii). The outbreak is the only identified occurence of Phyllosticta cavendishii on Cavendish bananas in Australia.

Proposal for production levy to fund freckle response

On December 2, 2014 information was released about a proposal for a compulsory banana-production levy to fund the banana industry’s contribution to the Banana Freckle eradication.

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) is proposing that the industry’s share of the eradication costs be funding through a levy of 0.75 cents per kg, or 9.75 cents per 13-kg carton. This would be in addition to the existing R&D and marketing levy of 1.7 cents per kg (22.1 cents per 13-kg carton).

The ABGC will be conducting grower consultation on the levy proposal until February 1, 2015.

To see more information, please click on the following link  ABGC Board proposes levy to fund freckle fight

Banana Freckle eradication plan

On October 10, 2014 a new phase of the eradication plan was announced. The $26 million plan will run over three years with work on proof of freedom set to begin from April 2017.

The eradication response is being conducted by the Northern Territory under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. This Deed is the agreement between the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC), Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) and Plant Health Australia to manage national responses to emergency plant pests.

The main points of the eradication response are:

  • new three-year plan to eradicate Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii) from Australia with proof of freedom gained after April 2017 with work to start in October 2014
  • total cost of eradication, including work already conducted, is estimated at about $26 million and will be jointly funded by banana growers, represented by the ABGC; the NGIA and Commonwealth, State and Territory governments
  • the cost-shared amount of the eradication will be about $21 million and the NT Government will provide an additional amount of about $4.8 million
  • commercial banana growers’ contribution to be finalised but expected to be about half, in the range of $10 million to $13 million
  • all banana plants to be removed from six eradication zones – the Greater Darwin area; Rum Jungle and Batchelor, south of Darwin; Dundee Beach, south west of Darwin; Nauiyu/Daly River, south west of Darwin; Milikapiti on Melville Island; and the Ramingining Aboriginal community in west Arnhem Land
  • a four-phase approach of removing banana plants in the eradication zones; a banana plant-free period including a full wet season; controlled reintroduction and monitoring of banana plants and assessment of freedom from the pest
  • movement controls for banana plants and fruit
  • Owner Reimbursement Costs for affected commercial banana growers and production nurseries.

Banana grower contributions will be made over a number of years via a production-based levy to be activated under the terms of a joint Federal Government and industry Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) Deed which came into effect on July 1, 2013.


Media releases

Please click on the following links to see statements on the Banana Freckle eradication:


December 2, 2014 – ABGC Board proposes levy to fund freckle fight

October 10, 2014 – New_freckle_eradication_phase_protects_Australian_banana_industry

August 20, 2014 – ABGC Board discusses Banana Freckle

November 13, 2013 – Banana industry backs eradication

October 4, 2013 – ABGC supports Banana Freckle response plan in NT

NT Dept of Primary Industry & Fisheries (DPI&F)

December 14, 2014 –Anula Primary School joins Banana Freckle eradication effort

December 10, 2014 – Tiwi Island Bananas Destroyed

October 20, 2014 – Territorians asked to help with next phase of eradficating Banana Freckle

October 10, 2014 – National commitment to make the NT Banana Freckle free by 2017

September 4, 2014 – Property visits top 30,000 in eradication

June 19, 2014 – Banana Freckle found at Knuckey Lagoon as surveillance continues

February 24, 2014 – Banana Freckle Response continues 7 days a week

Qld Government

October 4, 2013 – Qld commits to banana freckle eradication

Additional information

Australian Bananas magazine article, September 2014, “Why Freckle is a spot of bother” – Australian Bananas magazine article

Information on Banana Freckle – Eradication information sheet

Frequently Asked Questions – go to the NT DPI&F webpage

Information for NT backyard growers – Information for property owners about removal of banana plants in the NT

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