60 Years of ABGC – Successful pest and disease management

The ABGC has an enviable track record in successfully eradicating and containing a number of serious pest and disease incursions that have threatened the viability of the Australian banana industry over the years.

The Banana industry is a world leader in the effective containment and biosecurity management of diseases such as Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4) and Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV), as well in the past, successful eradication of incursions of Banana Freckle and Black Sigatoka.

TR4 – one of the most significant pest incursions in the industry – was first detected on a Tully Valley banana farm in 2015.

Since then, the ABGC has worked closely with Biosecurity Queensland, growers and researchers to control and contain the disease through a program of surveillance on farms, compliance
on known infested properties and on-going communication and education activities. 

This world-leading work has contained the soil-borne disease to five farms in the Tully Valley. Australia is the only country to achieve this level of containment.

The Banana Industry has also invested in the strategic research to help growers implement effective biosecurity practices on farms and find solutions to TR4 in the short and long term.

Black Sigatoka, a significant leaf spot disease of bananas, was successfully eradicated from the Tully area in 2005. The Northern Territory was declared free of Banana Freckle, a disease of banana leaves and fruit, in 2017, after a three- year eradication program delivered under a collaborative partnership between the ABGC and NT government.

The ABGC has been able to contain Banana Bunchy Top to a fixed area (South East Queensland and northern NSW), again the only country in the world to achieve this.

Effective partnerships and well established relationships with state governments and growers has been pivotal to the successful eradication, containment and management of pest and disease incursions in the Australian banana industry which contributes to the long term sustainability of the industry.

Enhanced pest and disease management continues to be a focus for the ABGC, with containing TR4 and BBTV, minimising the risk of future exotic pest incursions and enhancing preparedness, key priorities.