While Cyclone Debbie may no longer be dominating news headlines, the legacy of the storm is being felt by many in the food sector after hundreds of millions of dollars of crops were destroyed. With QFF reports confirming that vegetable producers in the Bowen region alone sustained $100 million worth of damage to almost 20% of the season’s crop, there is undoubtably a hard road ahead for many farmers across the state.
These major crop losses across North East Queensland, particularly in Bowen, Proserpine and Mackay, are predicted to have a flow on effect for market agents and sellers. These regions are Australia’s primary suppliers of winter vegetables, specifically tomatoes and capsicums, as well as eggplants, pumpkins and Melons – therefore we can expect to see a market shortage across these lines throughout end of May and June.
Thankfully the shortage and resulting price hike will be temporary and are expected to last 4 to 6 weeks. This is primarily due to continued supply from non-affected farming areas and affected farmers already planting new seedlings.
Please note: while tomato prices are already double what they were this time last year, this is not related to Debbie with strong supply currently coming through the markets. Shortage of supply from cyclone damaged regions is not expected to impact the markets until late May.