Vege prices’ ‘100 per-cent rise’ as drought hits stores
WARWICK grocers are preparing themselves as the drought finally hits supermarket supply, with vegetables seeing a “100 per cent” price hike in some cases.
Percy Pugliese of Percy’s Fruit Market said popular vegies including cauliflower, beans, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach and pumpkins had become incredibly hard to source.
The long-time grocer said the supply shortage was more serious than the fallout he had seen from Cyclone Larry in 2006.
“I’ve seen shortages when the bananas got wiped out or when the tomatoes got poisoned but they were only individual lines in the past, whereas now it’s affecting quite a few lines,” he said.
“I’ve never known so many items to be affected and it’s going to get tougher before it gets better.”
Selling cauliflower for $7 compared to his usual rate of $2–3, Mr Pugliese said his concern was for buyers.
“That’s more than a 100 per cent rise in price,” he said.
“I feel sorry for the consumer because the fruit and vegetable industry is all about supply and demand and if you need something you could be paying big dollars.”
Mr Pugliese expected that buyers could wait for up to six months before growers could reap the rewards of this current deluge of rain and prices would decrease.
“Cauliflowers take several months to grow,” he said.
“It’s not just throw and go, you can’t pluck it out of thin air. People should be expecting a month delay before prices even look like coming down.”
Still, the grocer remained hopeful rain could mean “light at the end of the tunnel” for producers and urged people to continue buying locally sourced produce.
“It does makes a difference if it’s sourced locally,” he said.
“Even if you pay a bit more now, it’s better off in the long term and will keep sustaining the industry.”