Suspected Panama disease Tropical Race 4 near Tully


A suspected case of the soil-borne fungal disease Panama Tropical Race 4 is being investigated in Tully.

This is a major issue for the Australian banana industry and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) will be keeping growers informed on the issue.

Below is the media release of Queensland Government, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)


Biosecurity Queensland is quarantining a banana plantation near Tully while it investigates a suspected case of Panama disease Tropical Race 4.
Chief Biosecurity Officer Dr Jim Thompson said this followed an initial positive test result overnight.

“We have advised the property owner and we are moving quickly to isolate and contain this suspect case,” Dr Thompson said.
“Tropical Race 4 poses a serious threat to the banana industry as it attacks all types of banana plants including the Cavendish variety.

“It attacks the plants only by affecting the vascular tissue and is not transferred to banana fruit which remain safe to eat. There is no human health risk from the disease.

“It was first found in the Northern Territory in 1997 and has since spread to a number of areas in the Top End. Until now, it has never been detected in a Queensland plantation.”

Dr Thompson said plants affected by Panama disease Tropical Race 4 rarely produced marketable bunches making infected properties unviable for large scale production.

“If the disease were to become widespread across Queensland’s major banana growing districts, it would have serious consequences for the industry,” he said.

In Queensland, Panama disease is a Notifiable Disease under the Plant Protection Act 1989.

“In Queensland, all high risk materials, including soil, appliances or other items that have been in contact with a banana plant or the soil on which a banana plant has been growing, needs an Inspector’s Approval before entering the state,” Dr Thompson said.

“Movement of banana plants into, within or out of a Banana Pest Pest Quarantine Area also requires an Inspector’s approval.
“Banana plants, planting material and fruit are prohibited to enter Queensland from the Northern Territory where Tropical Race 4 is present.”

Jim Pekin CEO Australian Banana Growers’ Council said strict quarantine regulations were in place to prevent the spread of this disease and protect our state’s $600M industry.

“It is important that we work together to contain this disease if it is confirmed,” he said.
Growers are urged to protect their property by:

  • using good on-farm biosecurity practices including ensuring the use of clean planting material such as tissue culture plants
  • not sharing farm machinery and equipment with other growers
  • removing all plant material and soil from all machinery, equipment, vehicles and footwear before entry to their property.

If you suspect Panama disease on your plants, report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23, or call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.
For more information on preventing Panama disease visit

Media contacts:
DAF Mark Hodder 3087 8598 / 0421 618 871
ABGC Rhyll Cronin 0428 038 330


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