Shoppers to expect ‘moderate’ price increases
GROWERS on the Granite Belt are not expecting to see extraordinary produce price rises flagged in recent media reports.
Granite Belt Growers Association president Angus Ferrier said supermarket shoppers could expect to see a modest increase in the price of produce in the coming months, but nothing as drastic as AUSVEG chief executive James Whiteside predicted last week.
“I think his comments were really misguided and disappointing coming from a national body,” Mr Ferrier said.
Mr Ferrier said he disagreed with the 20–50 per cent figure.
“That is absolutely not the understanding of growers that prices will go up 50 per cent, and it’s absolutely not my expectation that growers will see a 50 per cent rise in their farmgate sales,” Mr Ferrier said.
Mr Whiteside was reported as saying he believed Queensland shoppers would cop higher supermarket shelf prices because so much of the state’s produce comes through Victoria and New South Wales.
He said with the Princes Highway shut by the fires, the produce was having to take the long way round to the supermarket shelves, adding both time and cost.
However, Mr Ferrier said transport was not the issue, saying avenues from Victoria are still accessible.
“The Hume Highway and the Newell Highway have not yet been closed at all this fire season,” he said.
“There is still a plentiful supply of fruit and vegetables from southern states.
“I think that is overstating the issue and I think the challenges to national transport routes have been overstated.”
Instead, Mr Ferrier said he expected a modest increase in farm gate prices.
“In drought, yes, the costs of production are increased and often yields,” he said.
“Pack outs of class one fruit and vegetables is reduced.
“As a national supply chain, we might expect to see modest increases in farmgate prices.
“But we will not expect them to rise by as much as 50 per cent as has been reported.”
The stone fruit grower said the drought had taken a severe toll on his own yield and he had already picked all his fruit.
“That relative undersupply in the market did not lead to some enormous farm gate price rise,” Mr Ferrier said.
“The price per kilogram may have gone up a small amount, but not enough to compensate for the lack of yield.”