Bananas

Australian Banana Growers’ Council represents the biosecurity interests of banana producers and the industry. They are members of Plant Health Australia and signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. Their responsibilities include:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives
  • participating in national committees and response efforts in an emergency.

Industry overview

In 2016–17, banana production was valued at $580 million (LVP). The vast majority of the Australian banana crop is supplied to the domestic market while a small number of growers are creating export markets in Asia.

Bananas are grown commercially in Queensland, NSW, WA and NT. There are currently about 13,000 hectares of bananas grown in Australia, 94 per cent of which are located in four north Queensland growing regions Tully, Innisfail, Lakeland and the Atherton Tablelands.

Bananas are grown all year round with the two main varieties being Cavendish and Lady Finger.
The Cavendish variety accounts for 95 per cent of production.

In 2018, there were three major biosecurity threats challenging the banana industry:

  • banana freckle in the NT
  • Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4) in north Queensland
  • banana bunchy top virus in northern NSW and south-east Queensland.

The National Banana Freckle Eradication Program (carried out under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed) successfully eradicated banana freckle from the NT in 2018, with national proof of area freedom was declared in February 2019.

Panama disease tropical race 4 was first detected on a north Queensland banana farm in March 2015. Due to the collaborative efforts of banana growers, the ABGC and Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the disease has been contained to three farms in the Tully Valley.

While the plants on the original infected property were destroyed and all farming operations ceased, the other two quarantined farms continue to produce and pack fruit under strict biosecurity conditions. Biosecurity Queensland continues to conduct surveillance on all medium and high-risk commercial banana farms in north Queensland.

A control program for banana bunchy top virus has been operating in NSW and south-east Queensland since 2009. The aim is to contain the virus to a limited area through targeted surveillance and destruction of infected plant material.

In addition to these major biosecurity threats, ABGC is active in other biosecurity programs. Yellow sigatoka is an important endemic leaf disease that spreads easily if not controlled and causes significant production losses. An officer is employed by the ABGC to undertake inspections for the presence of yellow sigatoka in the north Queensland commercial production area and work with growers to assist them to control the disease.

Annual value of banana production, 2007–17

Distribution of banana production by state and territory 2016–17 (based on LVP)

Biosecurity Plan for the Banana Industry

Biosecurity planning provides a mechanism for the banana industry, government and other relevant stakeholders to assess current biosecurity practices and future biosecurity needs. Planning identifies procedures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of pests reaching our borders or minimise the impact if a pest incursion occurs.

The Biosecurity Plan for the Banana Industry outlines key threats to the industry, risk mitigation plans, identification and categorisation of exotic pests and contingency plans. For a copy, please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email [email protected]

Banana Biosecurity ManualFarm Biosecurity Manual for the Banana Industry

The Farm Biosecurity Manual for the Banana Industry manual contains information to help producers to implement biosecurity on-farm. Manuals usually contain an overview of biosecurity, fact sheets to identify the high priority pests of a crop, tips on crop management, and how to manage people, vehicles and equipment to minimise biosecurity risks. Manuals also contain a biosecurity self-assessment list, and templates to record pest surveillance records and visitors.

More information about on-farm biosecurity for both plant and livestock producers is available from the Farm Biosecurity website.

Banana PostcardPostcard

Promotional item to support the exotic plant pest hotline 1800 084 881. For printed copies of this material, please contact PHA.

Exotic pests (not in Australia)

The following is a list of  high priority exotic pests of bananas. These pests were identified during the development of the Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Banana Industry in consultation with industry, government and scientists. They have been assessed as high priority pests based on their potential to enter, establish, and spread in Australia (eg environmental factors, host range, vectors) and the cost to industry of control measures.

PHA has a range of fact sheets, contingency plans and diagnostic protocols relevant to these pests. Pest risk review documents are also available for some pests. Please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email [email protected] for more information.

Endorsed National Diagnostic Protocols are available from the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network webpage.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Abaca bunchy top virus Abaca bunchy top virus (Babuvirus)
Banana bunchy top disease Banana bunchy top virus (Asian subgroup) (Babuvirus) FS
Banana freckle Phyllosticta spp. including P. cavendishii, P. sydowiana and P. musarum 3 FS
Banana skipper butterfly Erionota thrax 4 FS
Banana spider mite Tetranychus piercei 4 FS FS
Black sigatoka Pseudocercospora fijiensis 2 FS
Blood disease Ralstonia syzygii subsp. celebesensis 2 FS
Eumusae leaf spot Mycosphaerella eumusae FS
Giant African snail Lissachatina fulica (syn. Achatina fulica) CP
Grey pineapple mealybug Dysmicoccus neobrevipes FS
Jack Beardsley mealybug Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi
Mango mealybug Rastrococcus spinosus and R. invadens
Moko (Bacterial wilt) Ralstonia solanacearum phylotype IIB (banana infecting strains) 2 FS
Oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis 2 FS FS FS FS FS FS FS DP
Panama disease Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (exotic Vegetative Compatibility Groups) FS
Thrips Frankliniella invasor

Other pests

The following is a list of documents for other exotic and endemic pests of the banana industry. Please note that this is not a complete list of pests: rather it includes pests for which documents exist in the Pest Information Document Database.

Some of the documents presented here are not tailored to the banana industry and are included for information only.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Bacterial wilt Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum FS
Bakanae Gibberella fujikuroi CP
Banana bract mosaic disease Banana bract mosaic virus (Potyvirus) 3 FS
Banana Xanthomonas wilt Xanthomonas vasicola pv. musacearum FS
Blue-striped nettle grub Parasa lepida FS
Carambola fruit fly Bactrocera carambolae FS FS FS FS DP
False codling moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta syn Cryptophlebia leucotreta 2 FS CP
Fruit fly (Bactrocera occipitalis) Bactrocera occipitalis FS DP
Grey pineapple mealybug Dysmicoccus neobrevipes FS
Oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis 2 FS FS FS FS FS FS FS DP
Panama disease Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (exotic Vegetative Compatibility Groups) FS
Panicle blight Burkholderia glumae CP
Papaya fruit fly Bactrocera papayae 2 FS FS FS FS DP
Queensland fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni FS DP
Strawberry spider mite Tetranychus turkestani FS
Yellow sigatoka Mycosphaerella musicola