Disease affects Queensland banana farm

Disease affects Queensland banana farm

Authorities in Queensland have quarantined a banana farm in the northern part of the state after it tested positive for a potentially destructive fungal disease.

Experts have said that the Panama TR4 disease will seriously impact the state's banana industry if the disease spreads from the farm. The affected farm is located near Tully, south of Cairns in northern Queensland.Panama is a soil fungus that was found in the Northern Territory in 1997 and has since sprad to a number of areas. However, it is the first time that the disease has been detected at a Queensland plantation.

Chief biosecurity officer Dr Jim Thompson announced that the affected banana farm has been isolated after an initial test for the disease showed that the farm is affected. Experts said that the disease affects the plant but does not affect the fruit and it remains safe to eat.

Dr Thompson said on Wednesday that, "We have advised the property owner and we are moving quickly to isolate and contain this suspect case. The disease poses a serious threat to the banana industry in Australia and obviously Queensland represents ninety-five per cent of that.We're very concerned that if this does get into the banana industry in Queensland it could have a devastating impact."

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