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NRA decision helps Tully banana growers

NRA 01/8 6 September 2001

The ongoing campaign by banana growers in North Queensland's Tully district to eradicate the fungal disease Black Sigatoka has received a boost following a decision by the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals to issue an emergency permit for the use of a new chemical fungicide.

The permit allows the use of trifloxystrobin in the product Tega 75EC Fungicide on banana trees in the Tully Banana Production Area (TBPA), according to NRA Executive Manager of Registration, Peter Raphael.

'Black Sigatoka attacks the leaves of the banana plant and can prevent fruit from forming. If the disease became established, the economic consequences could be devastating,' Mr Raphael said.

'An eradication program to beat the disease has been underway for some months now and is making good progress. The program relies heavily on the regular spraying of fungicide as well as the removal of visibly diseased leaf tissue and the ploughout of diseased trees.'

'There are currently only systemic fungicides from one chemical group registered for the control of Black Sigatoka.'

'This emergency permit adds a new dimension to the fungicide spraying work. The chemical sprays can now be rotated to further enhance the eradication program,' Mr Raphael said.

'Growers and applicators likely to use the chemical product covered under the emergency use permit should remember to read all details, including handling and application instructions,' Mr Raphael said.

The permit is effective until 30 June 2002. Any extension of the permit to allow use to continue would require further consideration by the NRA.