What does Banana Panama disease have to do with kiwifruit?
There’s a lot the kiwifruit industry can take from the learnings Australian growers have had dealing with Banana Panama, a soil-borne fungal disease that growers and industry are focussed on containing through aggressive on-farm biosecurity.
KVH Board member Simon Cook is a Nuffield scholar who recently travelled to tropical north Queensland as part of his scholarship travels, to learn more about the disease and the way it has been managed. He says in the latest KVH podcast that the key takeaway for growers in the area has been the reiteration that basic on-farm hygiene prevents spread – something the kiwifruit industry learnt during Psa and must not forget.
“The first property identified with Banana Panama in 2015 went into lockdown, and was then removed, but without anyone realising it and before any symptoms were seen to the naked eye, the disease had already spread to two other local properties.”
“The majority of spread is in infected plant material and soil movement – even from heavy rain and flooding. Each grower now treats their site as its own biosecurity zone, controlling all movements across property boundaries and providing hygiene systems for cleaning machinery, gear, and footwear.”
Listen to Simon talk through the distinct similarities between the Australian situation and some of the threats we are facing in New Zealand in the KVH Snapshot podcast or read his series of Nuffield Thoughts on the NZKGI website.