Panama disease suspected on fruit farm
A SUSPECTED new case of Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) has been detected on a Tully Valley banana farm.
Biosecurity Queensland's Panama TR4 program leader Rhiannon Evans said a surveillance team identified banana plants displaying symptoms typical of Panama TR4 during a routine inspection of a property last month.
If confirmed, it would be the fourth positive result in the Far North since 2015.
"We have a positive result from preliminary diagnostic testing for Panama TR4, however further testing is required before a conclusive result can be determined and this testing can take up to four weeks to complete," Ms Evans said.
"The grower was notified immediately and we are working with them to ensure strict on-farm biosecurity measures are maintained with a focus on preventing disease spread and minimising any production downtime.
"The property with the suspect detection is in close proximity to the three previously confirmed infested properties."
Australian Banana Growers' Council chairman Stephen Lowe said while the industry knew the disease would eventually spread, it was still news no one wanted to hear.
"First and foremost, our thoughts are with the grower affected," he said.
"This is no doubt going to be a challenging time for them and their family, and we will look to help them through this in any way we can," he said.
The Far North's most recent confirmed case of Panama TR4 was on a Tully property in 2018.
Last year, representatives from Colombia visited the Far North to look at the region's strict biosecurity measures following an outbreak of the disease in their country.
If anyone suspects Panama TR4, report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. To find out more about Panama TR4 visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au.
Panama TR4 is not harmful to humans and does not affect the fruit.