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Banana growers urged to be vigilant

NSW banana growers are asked to be on the lookout for Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii) following recent detection of the disease on Cavendish bananas in an isolated area near Darwin in the Northern Territory.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director of Plant Biosecurity, Satendra Kumar, said the Department is now participating in the nation-wide emergency response to the disease.

“We are working closely with state and federal government agencies and affected industry stakeholders by contributing to the eradication program of the exotic disease.” Dr Kumar said.

“It’s very important that growers and gardeners check their banana plants and report any Banana Freckle symptoms.”

Banana Freckle is a disease of banana leaves and fruit caused by a fungus.

Fruit that has been affected by the disease is safe to eat, but severely affected bananas are not marketable in most cases.

Symptoms of banana freckle include a recognisable spotted freckle appearance as well as sandpaper-like feel to the infected leaves and fruit.

“Whilst the recent detection has been in an isolated area near Darwin, it’s crucial that the NSW industry remains vigilant.

“The disease is spread by the movement of fungal spores on wet leaves and is also spread by contact with contaminated fruit or clothes.”

If NSW growers suspect banana freckle symptoms on Cavendish bananas, contact the Emergency management Plant Pest Hotline on .

 

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