Menu

Banana disease on the loose

Banana growers beware: one of the world’s worst viral diseases to affect banana plants is being detected in the region, and Byron and Ballina shire residents are being asked to help stop its spread southwards.

National Bunchy Top Project manager Mr David Peasley says that there have been isolated findings of Bunchy Top in the Byron and Ballina shires’ border area on commercial plantations and on other properties in recent months.

‘The Bunchy Top virus has the potential to wipe out the Australian banana industry as well as stop people from having healthy home grown bananas, unless we are vigilant.’

It’s a statement supported by the NSW department of primary industries.

A spokesperson told The Echo that it is a ‘massive threat’, and has been a problem for some time. They added that a permit is required if you have more than one plant.

No cure

As there is no cure, Mr Peasley says it’s important to destroy the plants if they think they are diseased, ‘as they could unknowingly spread the disease further.’

Talofa resident Roz Borrell says she noticed some of her bananas were not forming bunches. ‘So I went onto the bunchy top website and saw the symptoms were similar. The inspectors confirmed that, so I am pleased that we have now stopped any potential spread of the disease further,’ Ms Borrell said.

Mr Peasley says aphids blown in the wind after feeding on infected plants carry the virus. It is also spread by transplanting infected suckers, so any infected plants pose the risk of spreading the disease further.

The virus stunts the growth of leaves and an infected plant will not produce a healthy bunch of bananas.

Bunchy Top will inspect and destroy any infected plants free of charge, according to Mr Peasley.

For more visit www.bunchytop.org.au for call the hotline 1800 068 371.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsors Vast Furniture & Homewares Ballina and Falls Festival Byron Bay.