News and Views

Territory on track to declare freckle freedom

In fantastic news for the Territory’s banana growers, current restrictions on growing, moving and selling banana plants in the Northern Territory will be lifted from early July 2017.

NT Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles said the “red” quarantine zones will be abolished, enabling Territorians to return to normal in growing banana plants.

“This is a vote of confidence in our hard work towards eradicating banana freckle over the past four years, and I take my hat off to the resilient, dedicated and cooperative banana growers, nurseries and industry participants right across the Territory,” he said.

“This great news means Territorians will no longer require a permit to purchase, grow, move or sell banana plants within the NT. However, a permit is still required to move banana plants and fruit into or out of the Northern Territory.”

The Territory has moved into the final phase of Banana Freckle eradication – Phase 4 Assessment of Proof of Freedom.

The final phase involves the lifting of quarantine regulations and requires further inspections of banana plants on 336 properties that were previously infected with banana freckle, or were in close proximity to infected areas.

The first round of additional inspections is currently underway with the final round of inspections to take place during the wet season.

Mr Vowles said Territorians should be proud of what’s been achieved so far as part of the largest plant pest eradication ever attempted in Australia.

“While internal restrictions will be lifted from early July 2017, there is still some work to do before the Territory is declared free of banana freckle, so it is important – as always – to maintain good biosecurity practices,” he said.

Acting NT Farmers Association CEO Greg Oweens has also welcomed the lifting of the restrictions on growing and trading of bananas within the NT.

“NT Farmers looks forward to Top End growers being able to resume trade in the wide range of products, types and flavours of this iconic tropical fruit,” he said.

Territorians are urged to continue to check their banana plants for any signs of banana freckle or other pests or diseases. Suspicion of disease should be reported to 1800 771 163.

Source: NT Government

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