Banana Freckle Response

BANANA FRECKLE RESPONSE

Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii) is a serious fungal disease affecting banana plants and fruit.

Since July 2013, the Australian banana industry has been involved in a national response to an outbreak of Banana Freckle detected on Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory.

The joint government and industry response is working to rid the Northern Territory, and therefore Australia, of Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii). The outbreak is the only identified occurrence of Phyllosticta cavendishii on Cavendish bananas in Australia.

Banana Freckle eradication plan

The national Freckle eradication plan was announced in August 2014 and began in October 2014. The $26 million plan will run over three years with work on proof of freedom set to begin from April 2017.

The eradication response is being conducted by the Northern Territory under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. This Deed is the agreement between the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC), Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) and Plant Health Australia to manage national responses to emergency plant pests.

The main points of the eradication response are:

  • a three-year plan to eradicate Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii) from Australia with proof of freedom gained after April 2017 total cost of eradication, including work already conducted, is estimated at about $26 million and is jointly funded by banana growers, represented by the ABGC; the NGIA and Commonwealth, State and Territory governments
  • the cost-shared amount of the eradication is estimated at about $21 million and the NT Government will provide an additional amount of about $4.8 million
  • commercial banana growers’ contribution is  expected to be about half, in the range of $10 million to $13 million
  • all banana plants removed from six eradication zones – the Greater Darwin area; Rum Jungle and Batchelor, south of Darwin; Dundee Beach, south west of Darwin; Nauiyu/Daly River, south west of Darwin; Milikapiti on Melville Island; and the Ramingining Aboriginal community in west Arnhem Land
  • a four-phase approach of removing banana plants in the eradication zones; a banana plant-free period including a full wet season; controlled reintroduction and monitoring of banana plants and assessment of freedom from the pest.
  • movement controls for banana plants and fruit
  • Owner Reimbursement Costs for affected commercial banana growers and production nurseries.

Banana grower contributions will be made over a number of years via a production-based levy under the terms of a joint Federal Government and industry Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) Deed which came into effect on July 1, 2013.

Cost sharing for the Banana Freckle Eradication Program.

Since 1 September 2015, the banana industry has been contributing to the cost of the Freckle eradication program through a compulsory banana-production levy of 0.75 cents per kg, (9.75 cents per 13-kg carton; 11.25 cents per 15 kg carton). This is in addition to the existing R&D and marketing levy of 1.7 cents per kg (22.1 cents per 13-kg carton; 25.5 cents per 15 kg carton). The payment for the program is currently on track and estimated to be completed in 2020.