Growers' e-bulletin - February 20, 2024

Growers’ e-bulletin – February 20, 2024


Genetically modified banana (QCAV-4)
ABGC Board Meeting

New resources for yellow Sigatoka
Banana de-handing project
Hort Statistics handbook    

Competition Advocacy

ABGC Job Alerts
Save the Date: Murwillumbah Bunchy Top Workshop
Grants and loans relation to ex TC-Jasper
Coles Nurture Fund 
Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative Symposium

Genetically modified banana (QCAV-4) 

The Australian Government has issued QUT a licence to commercially release QCAV-4, a genetically modified (GM) variety of Cavendish banana that is resistant to Panama disease tropical race 4.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has also notified the Food Ministers’ Meeting (FMM) that it has approved QCAV-4 as suitable and safe for human consumption. The FMM now has 60 days to either ratify or request a review of the decision. 

QUT has advised the Australian Banana Growers’ Council that there are no plans to grow or sell these bananas to consumers in Australia at this time. Rather, this process allows for further research to take place. 

The ABGC’s position on QCAV-4 and more information can be found here:

ABGC Board MeetinG

With 2024 now in full swing, the ABGC Board met face-to-face in Brisbane on 15-16 February to tackle some of the key issues facing the banana industry.

TR4 Management

The Board had the opportunity to meet with the acting Director General of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Bernadette Ditchfield, the Deputy Director and Chief Biosecurity Officer, Rachel Chay, and the head of Biosecurity Queensland (BQ), Mike Reid, about the TR4 Control Program.

The meeting was productive and confirmed continued cooperation between the department and ABGC for management of this disease.

Destruction zones

The Board received an update on research into destruction zones, which will help inform upcoming grower workshops on the topic. The workshops will explore options for changes to these zones. More detail to come on venues. 

Congress 2025

The Board also heard about the next Banana Congress, with planning now under way for a 2025 event that shakes things up, while keeping the parts you know and love. Watch out for updates – including location and dates – very soon!


Banana growers across Australia, you can now get to know your ABGC staff and the projects they are working on via #abgcatwork

Find out more about Carl and the work he does here:

New yellow Sigatoka resources from Better Bananas

The Better Bananas website is now home to a range of new yellow Sigatoka resources, including videos and factsheets.

Put together by the National Banana Extension and Development Program, they’re perfect for refreshing your own knowledge or training new staff. They cover a disease overview, its life cycle and management tips.

You can check out the first of the new videos here:

Head to Better Bananas for more: click here

De-handing robot prototype in the works 

An industry-driven project that would automate one of the most physically demanding and repetitive processes in the packing shed has entered a new phase.

Delivered through Hort Innovation and led by QUT in collaboration with Future Food Systems, the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub and BNL Industrial Solutions, the $2M program will use technology such as computer vision and machine learning to provide the banana industry with a solution for banana de-handing. 

The project draws on years of collaboration between the ABGC, growers, QUT, ARM Hub and BNL Industrial Solutions. 

ABGC’s R&D Manager Dr Rosie Godwin said she was excited to see where the project leads.

“This is a great example of researchers working effectively with growers  and the private sector to deliver practical, useful tools for industry. We’ll be watching this one very closely.”

Read more: click here

Hort Stats handbook

Hort Innovation has released the 2022/23 Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook, offering the most comprehensive data available on more than 75 horticultural products, including bananas.

Competition Advocacy

ABGC has been working with the NFF’s Hort Council on policy issues around supermarket prices, particularly in relation to the fair treatment of suppliers.

Supermarket price gouging was the focus on Four Corners last night which addressed some of the key issues growers are familiar with, and provided insights into some of the shortfalls of related policy mechanisms that are in place.

Hort Council is working on submissions to a range of inquiries on behalf of the Australian horticulture sector.

To inform these submissions, growers can confidentially have your say about how the domestic markets for fresh produce can be made more efficient, transparent and fair. 

ABGC members can login to the Members’ Portal and click here for a snapshot of the inquiries that are underway, including the Treasury Review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct. 

Contact ABGC’s Kathryn Dryden if you’d like to discuss. Note that ABGC membership fees are different to the PHA levies. Members are essential to supporting the ABGC’s leadership and advocacy role on behalf of the industry. Click here for more information and to become a member, or contact Kathryn Dryden via or 0455 553 596.

ABGC Job Alerts

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council is currently on the lookout for:

·       Membership Administration Support (Rocklea or South Johnstone) – CLOSING THURSDAY: click here 

·       Communications Officer (Far North Queensland): click here

Growers are invited to a Bunchy Top workshop – come along and learn from the team!

Check out what happened at the last grower workshop here: 

Grants and loans relating to Ex-TC Jasper and associated flooding

Resources relevant to banana growers affected by this event are available on the ABGC website. 

Coles Nurture Fund – Applications Open 

Australian producers can apply for a grant of up to $500,000 to help them develop unique products, technologies and processes.

Applications for Round 12 are now open and will close at 5pm AEDT on Friday 23 February 2024.

Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative Symposium

The Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) Symposium, a showcase of plant biosecurity research, development and extension, will be held at the Cairns Convention Centre on May 8-9, 2024. 


Please note, member and advocacy related content is funded by the ABGC.