Banana freckle is a fungus that attacks the leaves and fruit of all varieties of banana in both commercial crops and backyard plants. It reduces the yield and health of plants, but does not affect human health.

Banana freckle was detected in the Top End of the Northern Territory (NT) in 2013, and a campaign to eradicate it is under way.

Planting begins for permit holders

Before May 2015, all banana plants were removed from the six red zones to ensure the Northern Territory was in the best position to eradicate banana freckle.

From May 2016 you can now buy and plant banana plants in the red zones if you have a permit.  Read how to apply for a banana permit.

Banana plants can be bought from accredited nurseries or from your local nursery if they have obtained the plants from an accredited source. Read about buying banana plants.

If you are a participant of the sentinel planting program your permit will be sent to you once you have completed and returned the acceptance form.

Sentinel planting program

If you have been invited to participate in the sentinel planting program you will receive free banana plants under permit.

The first and second shipment of sentinel banana plants have been distributed to the Tiwi Island, Daly River, Ramingining and Darwin red zones.

The third and final shipment will be available for collection in December 2016 and January 2017 for Darwin red zone participants.

Sentinel planting participants will be contacted a few weeks prior to collection with information about where and when to collect their plants.

If you were offered a place in the sentinel program, please reply to the letter or email you received.

Read more about the sentinel planting program.


You can contact the banana freckle hotline by calling 1800 771 163 or emailing


You can contact the communications officer by calling (08) 8999 2107.

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Last updated: 20 July 2016