Banana trees to be destroyed in NT to ward off fungal disease

A fungal disease which was found in the Cavendish banana variety in August has become a catalyst to the destruction of banana trees across the Northern Territory.

A $2.8m plan to control the fungus which is known banana freckle, will be undertaken in an effort to protect the spread of the disease to Queensland where 90 percent of the country’s bananas are grown, ABC Rural reports.

Australian Banana Growers Council representative, Doug Phillips said that the disease would cause significant damage to the industry.

"It's certainly a significant disease we don't want," said Phillips.

"Where properties in the Northern Territory have had this disease confirmed, all banana trees as well as trees within a one-kilometre radius will be destroyed as part of this eradication program."

Although the disease has not been confirmed in Queensland Cavendish varieties, Phillips said that the cost to the industry would be huge should the fungus cross the boarder.

"The cost to industry over a long term period could be very, very significant through loss of production and costs trying to control the disease."

Both the state and federal governments, together with industry will be working to control the disease, with the Queensland government funding $125,000 towards the program.

In addition, the Queensland government has strengthened legislation that already prevents banana plants and soil from coming into the state. 


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