DPI look into banana freckle incursion and Panama disease
THE health of bananas is the top concern as authorities look into the outbreaks of banana freckle incursion and Panama disease tropical race 4.
The Department of Primary Industries will be conducting surveillance of NSW banana plantations in response to the recent banana freckle incursion in the Northern Territory.
From April 13 to 17 DPI officers are planning to visit plantations within NSW's Banana Protected Area, which includes the Northern Rivers.
DPI Director Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity Dr Satendra Kumar said DPI is asking for grower cooperation for authorised officers to undertake surveillance of plantations.
"As banana freckle is an exotic plant disease, DPI has an obligation under the Plant Diseases Act to determine if it is present in NSW," Dr Kumar said.
"It is hoped that this surveillance program will confirm NSW is free of banana freckle.
"DPI staff have already notified a number of growers in the surveillance area."
Dr Kumar said as this program coincides with an outbreak of Panama disease tropical race 4 in Queensland, officers will also be looking for symptoms of Panama disease in Cavendish bananas.
If growers suspect either banana freckle or Panama disease tropical race 4, or see any unusual symptoms on plants, please phone the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.