Panama TR4 Ready campaign under way

To ensure everyone plays their part in helping to minimise the spread of Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4), Biosecurity Queensland has been implementing a number of key projects to raise awareness with growers and the wider community about what they can do to be Panama TR4 ready.

By Deanna Belbin, BQ

Growers and community members told the Panama TR4 Program that they would like to see more public information about Panama TR4 and what can be done to minimise the spread of this devastating disease.

So Biosecurity Queensland teamed up with ABGC to create a website – – with clear calls to action for growers, banana farm workers, community members, and service providers to be #PanamaTR4ready.

The website is part of the Panama TR4 ready advertising campaign launched by the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner in late June, followed by a community launch at the Innisfail library community hub on 19 July.

When the Minister visited Cairns, he urged the community to continue to get Panama TR4 ready and reiterated that Panama TR4 has the potential to have a huge impact on our banana industry and severely affect livelihoods.

He said we need growers to keep selling bananas and continue to support our thriving Far North Queensland community.

He asked the public to familiarise themselves with the information provided through the community campaign to see what they can do to protect the industry and the local economy.


The multi-media campaign kicked off on 15 July and ran for 3 weeks while the website is available for three months from July to early October.

For more information contact Sarah Flenley at Biosecurity Queensland via email or call 07 4091 8159.

Farming with Panama TR4 workshops It was great to see so many members of the banana industry attending the ‘Farming with Panama TR4’ workshops in Silkwood and Mareeba in June.

Feedback from workshop participants showed that they had gained a better understanding of the biosecurity requirements needed to keep trading if their farm was detected with Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4).

This was a great outcome as the more prepared growers are, the better.

A key takeaway from the workshops was that the main biosecurity requirement growers will need to meet is that no soil or plant material can come off an infested property.

How growers achieve this can vary from farm to farm.

If a farm is confirmed with the disease, Biosecurity Queensland will work with the grower to help meet the requirements and get them trading again as soon as possible.

If growers want to workshop some ideas around getting prepared for a detection, BQ is offering on-site farm visits. Email or phone 07 4091 8140 to book a visit.

A warm thanks to Gavin and Stephen Mackay who volunteered their time to speak about their first-hand experiences in farming with Panama TR4. Their input was invaluable and well received by the audience. Thanks also to NextGen farmers Kris Horsford and Adam Gilbert who shared their knowledge of the varieties being trialled for resistance to Panama TR4 in the Northern Territory.

We’re also interested to hear feedback from banana growers and the industry to guide future workshop and information sessions.


If there are any other workshops about Panama TR4 growers would like to see us running, contact us on the details provided in this story.


As part of preparing growers for Panama TR4, we want to make sure you have the right information at the right time. That’s why we’ve updated the Panama disease tropical race 4 grower kit.

The kit includes new resources such as updated fact sheets, a disease identification guide and new shed posters.

All Far North Queensland growers should have received the new kit in the mail by now.

If you haven’t received your kit or you’d like additional copies, please contact the Panama TR4 Program on 07 4091 8140 or via email on You can also access the new resources online here:

If we’ve missed something that you would like to see in the grower kit, email Sarah Flenley on or call 07 40918159.