Keeping Panama TR4 aware

Panama TR4 Program engagement officer, Rebeca Breaden, delivering a Panama Ed session to SES volunteers in Innisfail before the COVID-19 health pandemic.

By Sarah Flenley, Biosecurity Queensland’s Panama TR4 Program

How will BQ’s engagement team keep Panama TR4 front and centre in people’s minds over the coming months?

Protecting the banana industry by keeping Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) front and
centre in people’s minds is the focus of Panama TR4 Program’s engagement team.

Since 2015, the team has delivered face-to-face Panama TR4 education sessions to hundreds of
stakeholders in numerous locations including banana paddocks, police stations, tissue culture
nurseries, farm sheds and community halls.

These sessions keep people informed on this soil borne disease and its potential devastating impacts
if we all don’t work together to limit its spread.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team took the education session and turned it into a short video on Biosecurity Queensland’s YouTube channel.

Since May 2020, the video has been watched over 200 times, proving it’s a popular way to keep people

The team is working on more online resources for organisations to promote to their staff.

Whilst the best protection against Panama TR4 is at a growers’ farm gate, protecting the banana
industry from limiting disease spread is everyone’s responsibility.

Over the coming months, the engagement team will work with the community and local organisations to keep them informed on Panama TR4 and build their capacity to protect the banana industry by:

• engaging with stakeholders to explore how their business operations can contribute to the control and containment of Panama TR4.

• provide support and resources that promote biosecurity best-practice such as training videos, posters, and on-site visits.

• delivering community education campaigns via social media, industry publications, attendance at events, and digital platforms.

• working with banana growers and job agencies to ensure farm workers are aware of the disease and the importance of following on-farm rules.

• keeping stakeholders informed on the latest Panama TR4 news through industry and government communication channels

In addition to this, the engagement team is available with Agri-Science Queensland’s banana production extension team to work with growers on their on-farm biosecurity measures. 

Growers can contact the Program’s engagement officer Rebecca Breaden on 07 4091 8140 or industry extension officers Shanara Vievers on 07 4220 4149, Ingrid Jenkins on 07 4220 4108 or Stewart Lindsay on 07 4220 4120. To keep up to date with the progress of the engagement team please sign up to the quarterly Panama TR4 Program update via (news & media)