Proposal is simply bananas: Farmer

BANANA farmer David Tate and fellow grower Sandro Franco aren't excited about the prospect of competing with foreign bananas.
BANANA farmer David Tate and fellow grower Sandro Franco aren't excited about the prospect of competing with foreign bananas. The Coffs Coast Advocate

BANANA farmer David Tate says offering up our disease-free status, clean green farming record and food security on the altar of the world's most diseased banana-producing nation beggars belief.

Not only does the Philippines have the worst banana pests and diseases, but it is also one of the most corrupt countries on the planet, with a vested interest in introducing diseases into Australia, he says.

Mr Tate is so outraged by the proposal to allow imports of bananas from the Philippines into Australia that he is writing an open letter to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Tony Burke, listing his concerns.

He says it will be impossible for the proposed quarantine regime to prevent the introduction of diseases.

While local growers are not excited by the prospect of competing with imported fruit in the marketplace, Coffs Harbour growers' deepest fears are reserved for what they see as the inevitable entry of major banana diseases they will be powerless to control, fellow grower Sandro Franco said yesterday.

David Tate said flying over the Philippines it was possible to see plantations being devoured by Panama disease, while growers were able to control diseases like black sigatoka only with the weekly use of ergosterol inhibitor fungicides (which block the uptake of Vitamin D), a regime which threatened the health of banana workers and consumers.

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