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 2018–19, banana production was valued at $437 million (LVP). Most 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, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. 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 2020 there continues to be two major biosecurity threats challenging the banana industry:

  • Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) in north Queensland
  • banana bunchy top virus in northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland.

Panama TR4

Panama TR4 was first detected on a north Queensland banana farm in March 2015. Due to the collaborative efforts of banana growers, the ABGC and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), by the end of 2020 the disease was contained to five farms in the Tully Valley. While the plants on the original infected property were destroyed and all farming operations ceased, all other quarantined farms continue to produce and pack fruit under strict biosecurity conditions. Biosecurity Queensland conduct surveillance on all commercial banana farms in north Queensland with the frequency of surveillance linked to the level of risk of Panama TR4 being detected. The ABGC and QDAF are working collaboratively to transition the leadership of the Panama TR4 Program from government to industry. It is expected that the transition will conclude by June 2023.

As a result of the second detection, Biosecurity Queensland, industry, local government stakeholders and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science came together to develop of a feral pig management plan that complements the activities of the Panama TR4 Program. Feral pigs in Tully have been identified as a major risk vector in the spread of the disease.

ABGC engaged a highly skilled vertebrate pest management contractor who coordinates, supports and mentors banana farmers to improve pest management practices on their land. This includes increasing skills and building long-term capacity in pest animal management, and raising awareness of responsibilities and obligations under legislation.

Banana bunchy top virus

A control program for banana bunchy top virus has been operating in New South Wales and south-east Queensland since 2009. The ABGC is delivering Phase 4 of the project to contain the virus to a limited area through targeted surveillance and destruction of infected plant material to supress the incidence of bunchy top disease on commercial farms. The project is working with growers to increase their capacity to manage bunchy top disease on their farms.

Yellow Sigatoka and biosecurity awareness, coordination and strategy

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 and other banana diseases in the north Queensland commercial production area and work with growers to assist them to control the disease.

The ABGC also employs two staff members who have a combined responsibility for coordinating biosecurity related research and development as well as strategy development and implementation.

Annual value of banana production, 2007–19

Distribution of banana production by state and territory 2018–19 (based on LVP)

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]


The Exotic Pest Identification and Surveillance Guide for Tropical Horticulture was developed with funding from the Australia Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Inspecting crops for signs of new pests is one way growers can protect Australia’s plant industries from exotic pests, as early detection and reporting improves the chances of successfully containing or eradicating new pests. The guide is in two sections:

• Biosecurity and surveillance
• Identification of key exotic pests.


Banana Best Manageent Practices: On-farm BiosecurityBanana Best Management Practices: On-farm Biosecurity

The Banana Best Management Practices: On-farm Biosecurity manual (2017) was designed to help growers implement biosecurity practices. It was developed by the Australian Banana Growers Council and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, with funding from the Hort Innovation Banana Fund project Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 - Biosecurity and Sustainable Solutions (BA14013).

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 snails Achatina fulica and Achatina achatina FSFSCP
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 DP
Panama disease Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (exotic vegetative compatibility groups) FS 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
Queensland fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni FS DP
Strawberry spider mite Tetranychus turkestani FS
Yellow sigatoka Mycosphaerella musicola