Australia eliminates banana freckle disease

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Australia eliminates banana freckle disease

The Australian Government says that Queensland banana growers have avoided a serious biosecurity risk with the Northern Territory today officially declared banana freckle free.

The successful eradication follows a five-year joint effort between the Australian, state and territory governments and the banana industry.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the announcement would boost confidence for Queensland growers and the AUD$1.2 billion Australian banana industry.

"Eradication is a tough business so this is a big win for some 700 banana growers across the country," David said.

The fungal disease does not bring health risks, but does hinder the growth of the plant and cause spotting on the fruit making it less appetizing and harder to sell.

He said the disease posed a real threat to the livelihoods of many banana growers.

"Had the disease spread to Queensland strict controls would have been put in place and no fruit would have been able to leave the region to be sold to supermarkets across Australia.

"The partnership between the Northern Territory and the Australian Banana Growers Council was an essential component of the eradication program. The efforts of banana growers who participated in the program in the Northern Territory should also be commended.”

“Queensland is the powerhouse of the Australian banana industry. In 2016­­­­­­­­­­–17 North Queensland produced 94 per cent of Australia's banana production for the year."

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