AUSTRALIA: Tully Valley banana farm tests positive for Panama again


Almost one year to the day since Panama disease Tropical Race 4 was first detected at the Tully Valley farm, the farm has again tested positive for the fourth time.


About 12ha of banana plants on Mr Bevan Robson’s 160ha Dingo Pocket property have been destroyed and fenced off in a bid to contain the disease, which is easily spread by the movement of infected plant material, soil and water.


Despite their efforts, a BQ spokesman yesterday confirmed a fourth positive detection of TR4 on the quarantined farm.
“Biosecurity Queensland will destroy other banana plants in the immediate area where this plant was found, as has been done with previous detections,” he said.


“This detection is not surprising and there may be more in the future.
“This is why we conduct regular surveillance on the property and developed a strict set of biosecurity procedures for the farm’s operations.’’


Both the Robsons and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council concede the best ­option would be to shut the farm down ­completely.
But negotiations on an industry-funded buyout and closure deal have failed twice, despite the Federal Government offering to chip in cash.
Financial details of the offer made are yet to be revealed.


Mr Robson believes he can live with TR4 and has been told to expect the occasional “flare up”.
“BQ told me it would wipe me out in two years and we’ve done 12 months with only two (other) stools affected,” he said, prior to a fourth positive detection.


The Robsons are still in discussions with the State Government regarding further compensation.
Along with Mareeba farmer Mark Reppel, they received a combined $684,243 last year to cover the net revenue forgone for the period in which they were banned from trading.


But both growers say it falls a “long way short” of their ­losses.
Mr Reppel is locked in his own battle with authorities after a “false positive” test.


Source: Fresh Plaza

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