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The fruit, vegies to be worst affected by Debbie's wrath

NO SHORTAGE: Rachel Erbacher of Erbacher's Fruit Shed says there are plenty of fruit and vegetables on offer despite the impact of Cyclone Debbie.
NO SHORTAGE: Rachel Erbacher of Erbacher's Fruit Shed says there are plenty of fruit and vegetables on offer despite the impact of Cyclone Debbie. John McCutcheon

THE good news is, you shouldn't be paying any more for your fruit and vegies, despite the impact of Cyclone Debbie.

The bad news? It's only a matter of time before you will.

When Cyclone Debbie cut a swathe of damage through Far North Queensland last week, she caused havoc in some of the state's prime agricultural areas.

It's estimated 95% of the capsicums and tomatoes consumed in winter come from the region, along with huge volumes of beans and zucchinnis.

So rather than complete crops being lost to the weather, it was new plantings which suffered.

"All the seedlings were destroyed, which will have a big impact on their mid-winter crops," Erbacher's Fruit Shed part-owner, Stepehn Erbacher, said.

Would higher prices keep you from buying your favourite fruit and vegies?

This poll ended on 17 April 2017.

Yes, I'll have to do without until prices come down. - 36%

I'll look for similar alternatives or buy frozen or canned instead. - 36%

No, I don't mind paying a bit more. - 26%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"The price of capsicums, tomatoes, beans and zucchinnis will be worst affected but we won't see the impact for another two or three months."

In the meantime, he said customers shouldn't expect to see any significant price rises.

The only exception was sweet potatoes from the Locker Valley.

"The price of sweet potatoes has gone through the roof in last few days beecause the ground is too wet for them to get in and dig them up," Mr Erbacher said.

"Otherwise, prices have firmed a bit but that's normal after a rain event.

"We're not pushing panic buttons and my advice to customers is not to panic - the quality and price are still good."

The CEO of leading industry body Ausveg, James Whiteside, has asked Australians to support the growers as they recover.

"While there may be some price impacts as a result of a supply gap in the affected regions, we hope all Australians will understand that growers bear the brunt of any financial damage that comes out of a weather event like this one," he told the ABC.

"Now more than ever, Australians need to get behind our growers, support them in this difficult time and make an effort to buy Australian produce."

Topics:  cyclonedebbie erbachers fruit and veges



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