Banana bunchy top virus project, phase 4 – national surveillance and education (BA18000)
What was it all about?
This investment ran between 2019 and 2022 to contain the banana bunchy top virus to existing control zones and protect the national industry from a significant biosecurity threat. Effective containment of the virus was achieved through surveillance and plant destruction within the control zone with an awareness and education program delivered to growers, consultants and collaborating partners.
Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) is the most significant viral disease affecting bananas globally. Affected plants do not produce fruit, and the disease is easily spread by banana aphids and infected planting material. If left uncontrolled, plantations can quickly become completely infected and unproductive.
The overall objective of this project was to prevent the virus from spreading outside the biosecurity zone in Southeast Queensland and the control zone in northern New South Wales where it currently occurs – and reduce the incidence of infection within these areas. The virus has been in Australia for at least 100 years but has been successfully contained to these areas. At least 95 per cent of the Australian industry remains free of the virus.
A total of 8159 commercial banana plants were detected and destroyed across NSW and Queensland solely because of the investment in this project. Of those, 6178 were detected in the NSW control zone and 1981 in the Queensland southern biosecurity zone. Without project control efforts, those 8159 infected banana plants would have multiplied exponentially and contributed to further infestation within and to other banana growing properties in the respective control zones, potentially spreading beyond those zones. Most commercial banana production occurs outside those zones and remains protected.
Additional outcomes from this project include increasing the number of growers capable of detecting and destroying the virus on their own farms and raising community awareness.
Resources to assist with detection and destruction, including videos to support growers and the community, are available through video streaming platforms and social media.
The National Banana Bunchy Top Virus program has been operating over the last 12 years through a range of levy-funded projects. This project (Phase 4) is built on the successful work of Phases 1-3 in protecting the national industry from another significant pest.
Visit the Banana Bunchy Top Virus dedicated section of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council website to learn more about the virus, how it is spread and access related resources.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Banana Fund