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Ongoing project

Banana industry R&D Coordination (BA20002)

Key research provider: Australian Banana Grower’s Council

What’s it all about?

Following the project Banana industry R&D coordination (BA17002), this project continues to support the role and activities of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council R&D Manager, Dr Rosie Godwin.

Working to coordinate the industry’s R&D efforts, this role includes facilitating beneficial collaborations between research projects, providing technical input into the development and conduct of projects, and acting as a key point of contact for industry R&D.

Dr Godwin also works with industry communication and extension initiatives to help the transfer of project findings and information to growers, and represents the industry at relevant forums, meetings and events. There is a particular focus on coordinating research efforts around Panama TR4.

Some key highlights from the past year include:

  • Effective project leadership and delivery of the BA21003 Multi-pest surveillance and grower education to efficiently bunchy top disease in the subtropics and leaf spot in NQ.

  • Industry representation and advice into the National Banana Freckle Eradication Response.

  • Input into the Panama TR4 transition particularly the development of the Code of Practice for TR4 on Infested properties.

  • Planning and organisation for delivery of the 3rd Scientific Symposium and R&D Program as part of the 2023 Banana Congress.

  • The engagement and establishment of collaborations with a range of new stakeholders and R&D service providers to initiate of projects on food waste, automation banana de-handing, benchmarking which have the potential to improve sustainability and profitability of the industry.

  • Industry participation was secured in a bid for an ARC Training Centre in Plant Biosecurity and partnership in new phase of the National Tree Crop Mapping project for the TR4 program.

  • The extension and communication of R&D developments has been enhanced amongst all sectors of the banana industry through a range of communication and extension materials and channels.

The project is essential to assist the Australian industry find solutions to the major challenges posed by continued poor prices and Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4). Both threaten the profitability, productivity and sustainability of the industry. Given the severity of TR4, (non-eradicable and easily spread), effective RD&E is vital in ensuring long-term management and containment of the disease, and sustainability of the industry.

The banana industry also faces serious challenges in other areas such as biosecurity, fruit quality, lack of diversification, waste management, and labour force. It is therefore important that the industry has technical and R&D adoption expertise to provide input to the banana industry R&D program and work closely with Hort Innovation.

Over the last six months, the ABGC has continued to employ Dr Rosie Godwin in the coordinator role for this project to support the timely delivery of a highly valued, relevant, and integrated research program for the Australian banana industry.

Over the last six months, Rosie has continued to:

  • Provide a central point of contact for banana industry R&D for all stakeholders.
  • Network with farmers to progress their research needs, enhance their entrepreneurialism and on-farm experimentation and connect researchers with farmers and their support network.
  • Network with Australian and international researchers and lead/support formal collaborations that could be either enduring or opportunistic as required.
  • Seek opportunities to leverage partnerships and resources that can deliver upon research needs in the most effective and efficient ways.
  • Network with industry strategic decision and policymakers, either directly or in partnership with other project leads, to ensure research is integrated into the evidence base of their decisions and that the conditions for industry innovation are optimised.
  • Work with Hort Innovation to ensure research needs are fully understood and improve the evidence base of both long term and annual investment plans and decisions.

For this reporting period, the R&D Manager’s major achievements include:

  • Finalised the delivery of two projects BA17005 and BA18000.
  • Facilitated the delivery and execution of BA21005.
  • Raised the issue of chemical gaps with Hort Innovation and the industry. This included the extension of the permit for Chlorpyrifos, subject to review by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. In response, Hort Innovation has organised for two chemical companies to commence trials on new bunch protection activities.
  • Input into the evaluation and contracting of major projects in the banana R&D program.
  • Represented the industry biosecurity at a national level through the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests for the banana freckle incursion in the Northern Territories.
  • Assisted with the development of the Code of Practice for Panama TR4.
  • Established relationships to develop new projects in the areas of energy sustainability and food waste.

Related levy funds

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