The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) has welcomed an LNP election commitment of $3 million over four years to help fund a co-ordinated feral pig control program along the Cassowary Coast.
ABGC Chair Stephen Lowe today thanked LNP Leader Tim Nicholls for recognising the significant problem that the banana industry currently faced with feral pig numbers, particularly when it came to the containment of Panama tropical race 4 (TR4).
“Funding of this level will assist enormously in allowing for a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to addressing feral pig management in this area where feral pig numbers have exploded in recent years,” Mr Lowe said.
“It is significant that this funding has been committed to industry at a time when we continue to fight to contain Panama TR4.”
Since the detection of TR4 in the Tully Valley in early 2015, feral pigs have been recognised as a serious vector of the soil-borne fungal disease.
In the past three years, populations of feral pigs throughout the region have reached plague proportions, leaving industry with a fight to bring growing numbers of the animals under control.
Recognising the risk to industry, a Feral Pig Management Working Group was established by the ABGC in September of this year.
Led by ABGC director and Far Northern producer Leon Collins, the group was formed to promote a co-ordinated effort on feral pig management throughout northern Queensland, involving government, growers and community.
“In July, ABGC asked for State Government support for a comprehensive feral pig program in Panama areas, following the second detection of Panama TR4 in the Tully Valley,” Mr Lowe said.
“Growers simply cannot tackle this problem alone and we are grateful that the LNP has responded to industry’s concerns.
“The ABGC hopes that whatever party is elected on November 25 that they support this announcement today, which is a major win for the nation’s entire $600 million banana industry, in the face of this most serious of banana diseases.”
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