TR4 as a driver of agroecological approaches in banana production
Facilitating or instigating change in agricultural industries is often moderated by the nature of the changes proposed. Simple change, such as the substitution of an existing technology with a new, improved technology, often occurs regularly and with relatively little resistance because of the limited impacts on other aspects of the system. However, complex change, such as major changes to agricultural systems and their various elements, is most times very difficult to implement and does not occur often because of the complexity of the interactions and thus the limited understanding of the potential social, financial, cultural and biophysical outcomes necessary for system change. Agricultural scientists are often agents of change within their respective commodity industries and the nature of the problems being confronted is increasingly complex, such as climate change adaptation or increasing pest and disease issues. Our experience with the recent Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4) incursion in Australia's major production region has highlighted the role that an actual or perceived crisis can play as a driver of change, even for complex problems. In this paper, we discuss what is happening in north Queensland since the arrival of TR4 in March 2015 in the context of agroecology and what further can happen. We describe on-farm implementation of significant biosecurity measures, soil erosion control, remote sensing technologies, renewed interest in cultivar diversity and instilling a positive attitude that the disease incursion is manageable, all of which are promoting innovative sustainable production systems.
Daniells, J.W. and Lindsay, S.J. (2018). TR4 as a driver of agroecological approaches in banana production. Acta Hortic. 1196, 203-210
banana, Fusarium wilt TR4, sustainable production, technology adoption