Bunnings' bananas all good, says ABGC

Banana Growers' Council has no concerns with Bunnings selling banana plants

Horticulture
PLANTING: While not actually shown in this picture, some Bunnings stores have been selling banana plants from Quality Approved Banana Nursery (QBAN) accredited facilities in their gardening section.

PLANTING: While not actually shown in this picture, some Bunnings stores have been selling banana plants from Quality Approved Banana Nursery (QBAN) accredited facilities in their gardening section.

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Bunnings is selling banana plants and some growers are a bit worried.

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THE national body representing banana growers has allayed concerns raised by some growers over hardware giant Bunnings selling banana plants.

According to a July newsletter, the Australian Banana Growers' Council heard concerns about the sale of banana plants from Bunnings, including in Innisfail.

"As the peak industry body, ABGC is constantly working with relevant authorities to maintain and promote strong biosecurity for the banana industry," the newsletter said.

"This work must take place within current legislation (the Biosecurity Act of 2014, which came into place in 2015).

"This Act marked a move to 'shared responsibility' by Government - meaning industry was expected to take a greater role in managing biosecurity threats.

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"Under the new Act, there is no longer any restriction on the banana varieties that can be grown by backyarders nor the number of plants they can grow.

"However there is an obligation on all people to minimise the impact of biosecurity risks."

There is heightened awareness within the banana-growing community over the potential for disease transmission in the light of the discovery of the highly contagious Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) on north Queensland farms in recent years.

ADVICE: A screenshot from the Bunnings website providing advice on how to grow banana plants.

ADVICE: A screenshot from the Bunnings website providing advice on how to grow banana plants.

On the Bunnings website, the page entitled "How to grow and care for banana trees" does not mention Panama TR4 as a disease, saying the biggest problems with banana trees "come from wildlife taking the fruit".

It also says banana plants may suffer from root rot if the soil is too wet.

The ABGC said it has worked with Biosecurity Queensland to ensure plants supplied into Bunnings were of high health, have been produced via Quality Approved Banana Nursery (QBAN) accredited facilities and that biosecurity risks were minimised in Bunnings distribution centres.

"Ultimately, plants sold at places like Bunnings are available to backyard growers, which is why steps taken to try and ensure their health are so important," the ABGC said.

"The ABGC provides a range of information to the public via its website, Facebook, through fielding calls and via points of interest like gardening clubs.

"The ABGC has also developed a Code of Practice for planting material for growers (and others) as means of reducing risk posed by planting material.

"Raising awareness around this issue - within and outside of industry - is an ongoing task and one that ABGC seeks to advance at every opportunity.

"Providing means for backyard growers to source QBAN certified plants from a place like Bunnings is by far preferable to them sourcing plants from neighbours, unverified nurseries or even Buy Sell Swap pages online, which can occasionally occur.

"There are also regulations around moving planting material in and out of the Queensland northern and southern biosecurity zones and the Bunchy Top Control zone of New South Wales."

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