Professor Andre Drenth, of the University of Queensland, recently visited the Guangxi province in Southern China.
Until a few years ago, the banana industry was rapidly expanding in the province and had reached about 120,000 ha in 2015.
Professor Drenth explains: TR4 came to Guangxi in 2010 and at first it spread gradually, destroying a few Cavendish plantations in its path. But with no effective resistant or tolerant varieties, no action to increase awareness and no quarantine in place, TR4 started to make a real impact from 2016 onwards.
From 120,000 ha in 2015, the banana industry in Guangxi has shrunk to about 40,000 ha in 2018.
Thus, in one province alone, 80,000 ha – more than 5 times Australia’s total banana industry – has collapsed due to fusarium wilt (TR4) in a few years.
This information is a reminder of the impact and cost of not containing TR4.