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 NT 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

The third and final distribution of sentinel banana plants has been completed in the Darwin red zone.

Over 3,200 properties in the six red zones are now growing sentinel banana plants.

Sentinel plants must be inspected by program plant health inspectors for signs of banana freckle. In accordance with the permit participants received, you must provide access to your property for plant health inspectors to inspect your banana plants for any signs of banana freckle. 

These inspections are a vital step in proving we have eradicated banana freckle from the NT.

Program staff will contact sentinel participants when an inspection is due to occur.

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