Article by: Hari Yellina
Fears that the outbreak could endanger the banana sector have been raised after the disease’s recurrence in the Northern Territory. This is the first outbreak of the fungus disease since 2019 that causes the fruit to have a patchy, sandpaper-like texture. The disease has been found in 17 properties so far, 16 of which are in the Batchelor and Rum Jungle regions, some 95 kilometres south of Darwin, and one other distant property. The banana sector is concerned about the most recent illnesses even though the 2013 outbreak of banana freckles had been declared eliminated by 2019. sBanana products are not allowed to cross state borders as part of measures taken to prevent travellers from spreading the sickness throughout the nation.
According to Paul Burke, chief executive of the Northern Territory Farmers Association, banana freckle was not anticipated to make a comeback this rapidly. In the rearview mirror, we were certain that we had a banana freckle, Mr. Burke added. It only serves to emphasise how crucial biosecurity is to today’s businesses. Fears of the disease spreading have prevented commercial banana producers in the area from moving their fruit, leaving them with little to no commerce or money. We’re very aware that we’re on the front lines and that the Northern Territory needs to put a stop to it, Mr. Burke said. We need to preserve and remove the banana business in the Northern Territory because it is a sizable sector in Queensland.
Farmers in these areas are urged to watch their plants carefully and report anything that seems off. Authorities created a four-phase plan to eliminate the banana freckle during its outbreak in 2013 in order to stop it from spreading to other regions of the nation. Despite banana freckle only being identified and treated on 260 farms, phase one of the programme resulted in the destruction of almost 500,000 banana plants on 9,500 different estates. Phase two called for a six-month period of disease-free plants, which had to include a wet season. Phase three involved checking the remaining plants for signs of the illness. The final phase was reached on February 1, 2019 where total eradication of banana freckle was declared alongside proof of freedom.