NGIA and the Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) announce changes to the Quality Approved Banana Nursery (QBAN) program

Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) and the Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) have formed a partnership to start a new project which will see the existing Quality Approved Banana Nursery (QBAN) Scheme transition from a government run scheme to an industry run scheme.

The new scheme will  target priority diseases such as Panama disease TR4 and Banana Bunchy Top Virus, and will provide a superior disease-tested product that is the preferred, cost-effective source of planting material. This will enhance banana grower’s on-farm biosecurity management and assist growers  to meet their obligations under state biosecurity legislation.

The scheme will cover tissue culture laboratories and production nurseries but will also investigate the feasibility for clean mother stock blocks and in-ground production nurseries to become accredited for the supply of clean material.

NGIA will administer the new scheme including the auditing and accrediting of the production nurseries and laboratories to NIASA and BioSecure HACCP standards. ABGC will provide governance and oversight, set the criteria to achieve QBAN and manage QBAN Certificate issuing. Additionally in partnership with NGIA, ABGC will monitor, review and update the scheme as required,  in consultation with relevant technical experts and industry stakeholders. ABGC will also promote businesses which have QBAN certification as preferred planting material suppliers.

NGIA Biosecurity Manager, John McDonald notes that this is an excellent outcome for both the Nursery and Banana industries and further solidifies the ongoing importance of our industry accreditation scheme and the role it has in allowing industry to cost effectively manage its biosecurity obligations.

The development and implementation of the new scheme is expected to take around 2 years and is funded through the Hort Innovation project BA14014 Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race 4 Research Program funded through the Banana Levy.