BUNDABERG bananas have been given a clean bill of health by a team of virus inspectors on the lookout for the devastating disease, bunchy top.
Last week six members of the Australian Banana Growers Council inspected commercial plantations and backyard plantings for signs of the disease.
After a thorough inspection of all commercial banana plantations in the Bundaberg region and a number of backyard plantings, the inspectors were confident banana bunchy top had not moved to the area.
Project manager David Peasley said the inspectors had completed a comprehensive sweep of banana plantings in the region and were pleased with the findings.
"While it would be impossible to inspect every banana plant in hobby farms and backyards throughout the region, we are confident we can declare the region bunchy top free," Mr Peasley said.
Bunchy top is spread by banana aphids and by the movement of infected banana suckers.
The virus leads to stunted growth and eventually takes away a plant's ability to produce fruit.
The disease has been reported in northern New South Wales and in south-east Queensland, with recorded infestations as far north as Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast.
There is potential for the disease to spread to the industry's Far North Queensland heartland with devastating consequences.
Mr Peasley said the Australian Banana Growers Council would now work towards ensuring the disease is contained and does not spread through Queensland.
"The banana industry could be completely destroyed in Australia if bunchy top were to spread further north," he said.
Banana growers who find evidence of the disease are encouraged to call 1800 068 371.
For further information on bunchy top disease, visit abgc.org.au.