New QBAN signed off

THE new project to update and transition the QBAN (Quality Approved Banana Nursery) from a state government regulated scheme to an industry-run scheme has begun.

Having access to clean planting material is crucial for reducing the spread of both exotic and endemic diseases such as TR4 and Bunchy top virus.

Under the new project which was signed on 31 August 2017, the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) are working in partnership with the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) to update and transition the banana-specific clean planting material scheme across to the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia (NIASA) and BioSecure HACCP certification.

The QBAN transition project will take approximately two years for development and implementation and will be done in consultation with current QBAN businesses, technical experts, government regulators and banana growers.

Biosecurity consultant Grant Telford, has recently been employed by NGIA to work on the project which aims to update and achieve a scheme that is:

  • more practical and workable
  • ensures the best possible biosecurity for the banana industry
  • meets new legislative requirements in each state
  • Targets priority diseases such as Panama TR4 and Banana Bunchy Top Virus and provide a superior disease-tested, cost effective product that growers prefer to plant to enhance their on-farm biosecurity and meet their General Biosecurity Obligation.

The scope of the project will first include tissue culture laboratories and grow-out nurseries.

Additional modules for clean mother block and inground production nurseries for supply of clean bits and suckers will be investigated for their feasibility and development.

The strategy will encompass the following steps:

  • Current guidelines mapped to NIASA BMP/Biosecure HACCP with commonalities and gaps identified
  • QBAN requirements not currently included will be added as new banana-specific appendices and HACCP procedures
  • Implementation in QBAN businesses

Responsibilities for the new QBAN scheme will be shared, with ABGC providing governance/oversight, setting criteria to achieve QBAN accreditation (NIASA/BioSecure HACCP certification), issuing certificates and maintaining a database of information.

NGIA will be responsible for providing the platform for QBAN, and auditing and accrediting QBAN facilities for certification.

ABGC in partnership with NGIA will review and update the scheme as required.

The use of clean planting material produced and certified under an accredited scheme is the best way for growers to maintain good biosecurity on their farms and minimise the threats from exotic and endemic diseases.

A list of QBAN businesses where growers can source clean planting material is shown opposite.

For further information, please contact Dr Rosie Godwin or John McDonald

* Funding for the transition and establishment of the new QBAN scheme is provided by Horticulture Innovation Australia’s BA14014 Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 Research Program which is led by the Queensland Department of Agriculture. The project will be subcontracted to NGIA and is expected to begin soon.

  • NIASA (Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia) is a national scheme for production nurseries which operate in accordance with a set of national ‘best management
    practice’ guidelines. 
  • BioSecure HACCP—(Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) is the industry specific on-farm biosecurity program (a set of protocols) designed to assist production nurseries assess their endemic and exotic pest and disease risks, and implement management strategies at critical control points. Businesses manage biosecurity risks by establishing
    an effective quarantine process for both imported and exported plant material.