Australia: TR4 eradication "not feasible" in Queensland
The Australian Government is currently considering a support proposal from the banana industry to contain Panama Disease Tropical Race IV (TR4), after a National Management Group (NMG) announced it was not technically feasible to eradicate the fungal pathogen in the state of Queensland.
The NMG includes chief executive officers of national, state and territory departments of primary industries across Australia, along with the Australian Banana Growers' Council (ABGC) and Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) as the affected industry parties.
The NMG reached its conclusion based on advice from scientific experts of the Consultative Committee for Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP).
The disease had previously been found not to be eradicable in the Northern Territory, which is where TR4 first appeared in Australia back in 1997. In mid-2012, the Northern Territory government sparked outrage in the national industry when it decided to lift quarantine barriers for the fungus.
"It is in the Northern Territory, and that's where we'd like to keep it," ABGC president Doug Phillips told www.freshfruitportal.com at the time.
The situation changed however for Australia's banana industry when the deadly strain was reported in the main growing region of North Queensland on March 4, after a grower in Tully raised the alarm. Since then, a farm 180km away in Mareeba has detected the disease and producers have been asked to pay voluntary levy to limit the spread.
In a release, the Federal Government emphasized the soil-borne fungal pathogen is not a threat to human health.