STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER: Locals haven't been deterred by the strawberry crisis with people still buying them come rain, hail or shine.
STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER: Locals haven't been deterred by the strawberry crisis with people still buying them come rain, hail or shine. Contributed

Strawberries selling themselves

THERE'S no encouragement needed when it comes to selling local strawberries.

Sam Giacca, owner of Sam's Fruit Shop in Cottonvale, said consumers were getting right behind the strawberry industry in its time of crisis.

"Everything's been normal and everything has been very positive. People haven't been shied off buying strawberries here,” Mr Giacca said.

"They come in to buy their fruit and veg and when they see the strawberries you can hear people saying 'yeah, yeah we'll buy them, we'll support the growers'.

"I think it's very important we all get behind them. Without them, the local guys, we wouldn't have strawberries, basically.

"Everything is business as usual and everyone is still buying them so it's good.”

With the supply chain likely to have copped a hit, strawberry prices will inevitably be up on previous seasons, Mr Giacca said.

"You'll actually find now strawberries will go up in price with the amount that, during the crisis, the amount (of farmers) that have walked out of patches or sprayed them off.

"So prices are going to go up because the suppliers are not going to be there because of the amount of farmers that sprayed their crop off during the turmoil.”

He said the only issue local producers needed to worry about was water.

But when it comes to being a salesman, strawberries sell themselves, Mr Giaca said.

"I don't have to encourage people, they just buy them,” he said.

After issuing a statement last week calling for calm, the Queensland Strawberry Industry now says it's been buoyed by the community support.

"The Queensland Strawberry Industry and Growcom would like to thank you for the strawberry love. Growers have been overwhelmed by the community support,” a spokesperson said.

"Be aware that it may take a little time for supply to be back to normal so don't be angry if you see empty shelves, some other enthusiastic strawberry lover has just beaten you to it.

"Looking forward to being back in full swing soon.”

Last week the State Government announced $1million to support the industry and Southern Downs MP James Lister has called on them to clarify where the money will be directed.

"There are thousands of people employed in the strawberry industry statewide. In peak season during the summer there would be 2000 in Southern Downs,” Mr Lister told parliament last week.

"We also have the largest strawberry runner producer in Australia, Sweet's Strawberry Runners. They have a shift there of upwards of 600 people. They do two crops a year. They are facing uncertainty about future orders, and those farmers who are producing fruit have ploughed an enormous amount of money into investing in their crops with no certain outcome.

"They are worried about the summer crop. We need to ensure that government support is real and there and now,” he said.

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