The Australian Banana Growers’ Association (ABGC) today announced that “they fought the freckle – and won!”
Since July 2013, the Australian banana industry has been involved in a national response to an outbreak of Banana Freckle, a serious fungal disease, detected on Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory.
Today the ABGC announced the complete eradication of the disease in Australia marking it as a significant achievement for the $1.2 billion Australian banana industry.
It’s taken more than 5 years and $26M… but the NT (and Australia) is now declared free of Banana Freckle 🍌🍌🍌🍌🍌🍌 @abcdarwin @abclandline @FarOutQld @jakehauritz @NTFarmers @abcnews @ABCRural @KenVowles @Hort_Au @afsnsw @NationalFarmers pic.twitter.com/A2x5YZwcwx
— Matt Brann (@MattBrannRURAL) February 1, 2019
“The Freckle Response has been the largest Emergency Plant Pest Response under the Plant Heath Deed ever taken in Australia,” ABGC Chair Stephen Lowe said.
Banana growers across the country funded half of the $26 million National Banana Freckle Eradication Response Program with the Northern Territory Government and the public covering the other half of the bill.
Mr Lowe acknowledged that commercial growers putting up that kind of money is no small undertaking and thanks them for their unwavering commitment to the industry.
“The impact of banana freckle spreading further afield could have greatly impacted the industry, particularly if it reached the major growing area in Far North Queensland,” he said.
The disease could have significantly reduced production, affecting growers’ ability to supply local fruit to Australian consumers.
“On top of this, it would have affected our good standing internationally and export market opportunities.”