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    Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
    The Honourable Mark Furner

    Queensland Government prepares growers for Panama TR4

    Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
    The Honourable Mark Furner

    Tuesday, June 26, 2018

    Queensland Government prepares growers for Panama TR4


    Around 80 members of the local banana industry attended free workshops on farming with Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) in Silkwood and Mareeba last week.

    Feedback from workshop participants showed that they gained a better understanding of the biosecurity requirements needed for a farm with Panama TR4 to keep trading.

    Ahead of his visit to Cairns on Wednesday, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the more prepared growers were, the better.

    “Panama TR4 is a serious disease threatening our banana industry and farms that have sound biosecurity measures in place may have less production downtime,” he said.

    “If the worst case scenario should happen and the disease is detected on a farm, there’s certain biosecurity requirements that have to be met for that farm to continue trading.”

    Panama TR4 Program leader Rhiannon Evans said being prepared and meeting the requirements before a detection buys time for growers.

    “The main requirement is that no soil or plant material can leave an infected farm,” Ms Evans said.

    “How growers achieve this can vary from farm to farm. Biosecurity Queensland will work with the grower to meet the requirements and help to get them trading again as soon as possible.”

    Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) Chair Stephen Lowe said the workshops were a great opportunity to hear first-hand from growers currently farming with the disease and how they met their biosecurity requirements.

    “We hope the workshops have encouraged more growers to think about their farm biosecurity plans to assist in managing with Panama TR4 to protect their farms and the broader industry,” Mr Lowe said.

    “Because Panama TR4 is not eradicable, early detection and control and containment are key to minimising the spread of this disease.

    “We know many growers have gone to great lengths to improve their on-farm biosecurity measures. However, we still need to drive the message that the more prepared you are for a detection, the quicker you will return to production after receiving a positive Panama TR4 notice and the less likely you are of putting the rest of industry at risk.”

    Ms Evans said the Program would be interested to hear feedback from banana growers and the industry to guide future workshop and information sessions.

    “If there are any other workshops about Panama TR4 that growers would like to see us running, they can contact the Panama TR4 Program by phone on 4091 8159 or email,” she said.

    Media: Brock Taylor - 0427 018 178