Joint Media Release with Minister For for Agriculture and Water Resources The Hon David Littleproud MP
- Banana freckle successfully eradicated from the Northern Territory
- Follows joint efforts from the Coalition Government, all State and Territory Governments and industry
- Coalition Government provided funding, monitoring, surveillance and early response planning
The Northern Territory is officially free of banana freckle following a five year long joint effort between the Australian, State and Territory Governments and industry.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and Senator for the Northern Territory Nigel Scullion today said the eradication would strengthen the $1.2 billion Australian banana industry.
“Eradication is a tough business so this creates huge potential for banana growers in the Northern Territory,” Minister Littleproud said.
“The impact of banana freckle highlights how important biosecurity is for our nation, but also that we have the systems in place to rid Australia of these types of risks.
“The Coalition Government contributed $6 million to the response program and assisted with surveillance, monitoring and early response planning.
“The response program was a national effort, with all governments across the country and the banana and nursery growers industries providing support.
“The program had four phases – destruction of material, host-free period of at least six months, monitoring of disease free plants for banana freckle and finally the assessment of proof of freedom.
“The partnership between the Northern Territory and the Australian Banana Growers Council was an essential component of the eradication program. I also commend the efforts of banana growers who participated in the program.”
Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said the eradication of the disease in the Territory would see the domestic banana trade improve significantly.
“Now that the NT is free of this disease, it reinstates the local trade environment for bananas to what was in place before the outbreak in 2013,” Senator Scullion said.
“It also establishes a pest-free status for future international market access opportunities, which provides important certainty for our banana industry.”
For more information on the banana freckle eradication program, visit https://nt.gov.au/industry/agriculture/food-crops-plants-and-quarantine/banana-freckle-eradication-program.
- Banana freckle is a pest of banana leaves and fruit caused by a fungal pathogen.
- Banana freckle reduces the productivity of banana plants.
- Affected bananas are safe to eat but blemishes on the skin reduce their visual appeal and saleability.
- Banana freckle was detected on Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory in 2013. Cavendish are the main commercial banana variety.
- The successful eradication will save growers up to $24 million a year in additional management costs.