Farming is a tough business at the best of times. There are many risks involved and multiple ways things can go wrong. Farmers can be left unable to pay bills or without crops or livestock to sell.

Recently, the government has stepped up efforts to help tackle some of Australian farming’s major biosecurity hazards.

This has highlighted the extent of the industry’s biosecurity risks. Although damage caused by disease or pest is currently uninsurable, it is important for those involved in agribusiness to consider an appropriate form of farmers insurance, to ensure they are financially protected against the many risks that are.

Panama disease in the Queensland banana industry

The federal government has recently committed additional funding and resources to improve combat measures for Panama disease – Tropical Race 4.

This disease has negatively affected the banana industry in Queensland and these new resources are intended to support the industry to develop ways to fight the biosecurity hazard.

Panama disease is a soil-based pathogen that attacks the roots of the banana plant. There is no known cure for the disease, and the only method of eradication is costly soil transfers.

Former types of the disease have been responsible for serious damage to banana industry in Latin America, all the way back to the 1950s.

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce has announced the government will provide a grant of up to $330,000 to the Australian Banana Growers Council. This will be used to fund its program of using specialist biosecurity officers to check banana farms have the right measures in place to protect their crops from damage.

Improving efforts to keep stink bugs out of Australia

Barnaby Joyce has also commended the work of the agriculture and biosecurity industries in their continuing efforts to keep stink bugs out of the country. The exotic pest is most likely to enter Australia through sea ports and shipping lines.

“Biosecurity officers started to intercept significant and unprecedented numbers of the bugs on vessels transporting vehicles from the United States in late December,” Minister Joyce said.

Stink bugs are known to cause significant damage to fruit and vegetables, resulting in produce that is unfit for sale. If the pest was allowed to get into Australia, the results could be devastating to the farming industry. According to the NSW Ministry of Primary Industry, stink bugs can cause significant damage to crops like apples, peaches, raspberries, sweet corn, green beans, capsicums and tomatoes.

Minister Joyce said the Department of Agriculture was working hard at off-shore location and at the border “to safeguard our people, our unique environment and our $52 billion agricultural industries from many of the pests and diseases present in other parts of the world”.