Banana Disease Control Program Underway

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18th September 2009, 10:44am - Views: 442






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NEWS RELEASE       

18 September 2009


Banana Bunchy Top National Biosecurity Officer 

appointed for southeast Queensland



In the fight against one of the most important viruses affecting banana production, a

Biosecurity Officer has been appointed to the National Banana Bunchy Top Eradication

Program in southeast Queensland.


Ms Edith Nicholls has taken on the role of Biosecurity Officer for the new three year national

project to begin the elimination of banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) in the subtropical banana

industry, as the first stage towards the complete eradication of the virus from Australia.


The project is being funded by the national banana industry levy which is managed by

Horticulture Australia Limited, with matched funding from the Australian Government. In

Queensland, the project is being managed by Biosecurity Queensland, Queensland Primary

Industries and Fisheries for the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC). 


Ms. Nicholls, an honours graduate in agricultural science, will be responsible for the banana

bunchy top detection and control project in southeast Queensland from Bundaberg to the

New South Wales border.  Ms Nicholls will be based at the department’s Nambour office. 


“The National Banana Bunchy Top Virus Management project will address the problem in

commercial and peri-urban environments — we need to stamp out the virus not only in

banana plantations, but also where it is found on hobby farms and backyards,” said Ms.

Nicholls.

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Bunchy top is considered one of the most devastating viral diseases of bananas worldwide.

Affected plants do not produce fruit, resulting in significant loss of production if the virus is

allowed to spread, either by affected plant material or banana aphids. 


The only places where bunchy top is currently found in Australia are the banana growing

areas in southeast Queensland and in far northern New South Wales. 


The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, Mr Tony Heidrich,

said “We are dedicated to the eradication of the virus in Australia and while this is an initial

three year project, there is a 10 year plan to achieve this goal, with full support from the

ABGC for the program.”


“We are calling on all banana growers and the community in affected areas to assist in

making this project successful. Their cooperation will be vital in our efforts to eradicate

bunchy top from Australia.”


“If bunchy top was to spread to the main growing regions in far north Queensland it would be

disastrous for our industry, so we aim to prevent its spread and eradicate it completely,” said

Mr. Heidrich.

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For further information:


Tony Heidrich  - ph 32784786  or 0427 987 499

QPIF spokesperson – Dr Suzy Perry, ph 07 32393953



Released by Neville Sloss, Green PR, 0414 562 010

on behalf of ABGC & Subtropical Banana Industry Communications 






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