Panama TR4, which affects bananas, is non-eradicable. Strong biosecurity measures as well as early detection are currently the most effective defense against an incursion. Now, a scientific review into Panama disease tropical race four in Far North Queensland has resulted in a list of research priorities to help guide industry forward.
The independently commissioned review, which commenced in February 2021, examined patterns of spread of Panama TR4 between current infested properties of Far North Queensland, and whether existing control and containment strategies had been sufficient.
The review recommended key actions including targeted research into containment and innovation to support surveillance, and empowering growers through agronomic insights.
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' chief biosecurity officer, Malcolm Letts, who chairs the Panama TR4 Program Management Board, said the review also confirmed the effectiveness of the combined industry and government response to controlling and containing the disease.
Goodfruitandvegetables.com.au quoted Letts as saying: "The board will now progress investigations into the protocol for destroying diseased plants and alternative methods of detecting the disease. We'll also consider research to help us understand the relationships between environmental conditions, the host and pathogen. With management of the disease transitioning to industry leadership in 2023, realistic and cost-effective solutions must now be sought for future control and containment efforts."
Mr Letts said for growers, the review indicated how to limit the impact of a disease incursion through changes to agronomic practices.