News National Unstoppable fungus threatens banana shortage

Unstoppable fungus threatens banana shortage

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Australians could face national banana shortages after a disease plaguing Queensland farms was declared “not feasible to eradicate”.

The Panama fungus has contaminated and shutdown two of the state’s 280 banana farms.

After looking at scientific evidence, the Department of Agriculture National Management Group said it was “not technically feasible to eradicate the fungal pathogen in Queensland”.

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The disease has not attacked the nation since the 1990s, when it effectively wiped out the Northern Territory banana industry.

Last week, the Queensland government established a taskforce to deal with the disease, with the Abbott government later coming on board.

The federal government will provide $230,000 in funding for emergency response effort and has reportedly considered a $600 million package to support the industry.

Unaffected banana growers will be asked to pay a voluntary 1c per kilo levy to aid farmers whose crops have been destroyed by the fungus.

Humans are unaffected by the disease, which is spread via contaminated soil and plant material.

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