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Ongoing project

National banana development and extension program (BA19004)

Key research provider: The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (for the tropical component) and NSW Department of Primary Industries (for the subtropical component)

What’s it all about?

This project has two components working closely together to form a national program: a tropical component specific to the Queensland banana industry, and a subtropical one for New South Wales and Western Australian production regions.

They follow the previous National banana development and extension project (BA16007) and are tasked with helping deliver the outcomes of levy-funded and other R&D back to the banana industry, to help growers access and implement new information, technologies and approaches, and make better decisions for their businesses.

The program’s activities involve industry development officers who deliver…

  • The Better Bananas website,
  • National banana roadshow events, held biennially
  • Field walks and industry workshops, with details circulated in industry channels as they become available
  • Industry meetings and tours, including NextGen young banana grower group activities (contact your region’s officer if you’re interested in taking part in NextGen activities)
  • Grower training activities
  • Resources, including fact sheets, videos and articles for Australian Bananas magazine
  • Direct engagement with growers and others in the banana supply chain
  • Innovative field trials and other research activities, detailed on the Better Bananas website here.

The project team report progress in the following areas:

The mini-Roadshows with growers and other stakeholders are set to be held in Tully (16 June), Innisfail (17 June) and Mareeba (22 June). The Roadshow events in Far North Queensland (FNQ) have a focus on pest and disease management and research, specifically the fundamentals, management, current research and chemical resistance considerations of yellow Sigatoka, bunch pests and mites. The project facilitated the first mini-Roadshow event in Western Australia on 5 May 2022. Using a virtual hybrid approach, growers participated collectively in Carnarvon, joining via video link with the Queensland project team and researchers. Nematodes and banana varieties were the key topics presented. Overall, the event was well received by the 16 attendees (13 ‘in-person’ and 3 stakeholders online). The 9 growers that provided feedback indicated they increased their knowledge on the topics as a result of participating, with evaluation scores ranging from 3-5 out of 5 (1 = not at all - 5 = significantly).

There have been 23 page updates for the Better Bananas website in the last 12 months. The new content, particularly the on-farm biosecurity content, has been promoted, linked and published in e-bulletins, Australian Bananas magazines and on the Australian Banana Growers’ Facebook page (all distributed by ABGC) as well as included in the Panama TR4 program updates.

The project has recently commenced two field trials investigating bunch pest management practices in response to the potential removal of products containing chlorpyrifos and concerns about the efficacy of the remaining registered chemistries. This is aimed to gain more knowledge and establish best practice principles to get the most out of current bunch pest management practices.

The project will also facilitate a workshop session to discuss the future of bunch pest management and the short and medium-term impacts and considerations associated with the likely deregistration of chlorpyrifos.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Banana Fund