From little things big things grow

  • From little things big things grow image

Captivating the interest of school children is the latest approach taken by the Panama TR4 Program to spread the message, not the disease.

The Panama TR4 Program (Program) aims to inspire the next generation of biosecurity champions through a new children’s book about Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4).

Carrying simple messages and fun facts, ‘Charlie goes bananas!’ highlights the importance of biosecurity and shared responsibility. Key banana industry messages are entwined through the storyline of a young and enthusiastic ‘Charlie’, who visits his grandfather’s banana farm in Tully, Far North Queensland.

The official launch of ‘Charlie goes bananas!’ was a light-hearted celebration featuring the author Matilda Bishop reading to local primary school children. Biosecurity Queensland officers, Australian Banana Growers’ Council representatives, Cassowary Coast Regional Council staff and local media attended, however it was the children that were the stars of the day.

“Shut the gate mate!” they all screamed at the top of their lungs outside the banana farm at the Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture at South Johnstone.

“What TV show am I going to be on? Is it A Current Affair?” one future biosecurity champion asked after noticing the videographer. They were all too pleased to learn the news would go to television, radio and print!

“Charlie goes bananas!’ targets the grade three academic level and was commissioned by the Panama TR4 Program, a joint initiative between the Queensland Government and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council.

With Panama TR4 management currently transitioning from government to industry, ‘Charlie goes bananas!’ is one of the ways the Program hopes to keep the biosecurity messages alive for many years to come.

‘Charlie goes bananas!’ can be found as a publication alongside the Panama TR4 Grower Kit or in video form on the BQ YouTube channel.