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Price hikes for bananas likely

YASI STRIKES: A banana plantation is destroyed outside of Innisfail. AAP Image
YASI STRIKES: A banana plantation is destroyed outside of Innisfail. AAP Image

CENTRAL Highlands’ shoppers again may be forced to fork out up to $13 a kilo for bananas thanks to Cyclone Yasi.

There are early predictions more than 90% of Australia’s banana crop was wiped out as Yasi blew through North Queensland overnight on Wednesday.

It will almost certainly impact on prices, National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie said.

“It did then, and I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t now,” he said.

Mr Laurie estimates banana production won’t get back up for another 12 to 18 months, although he conceded assessments of damage would get clearer over the next two days.

The sugar industry is also counting the cost of the disaster, with suggestions of crop losses of up to half a billion dollars.

It is likely to have an impact on production right through 2011. The horticulture, meat and dairy industries were also likely to feel an impact.

The Bananas Growers Council’s Jonathan Eccles agreed there would be a drastic decrease in supply, with Tully, Innisfail and Cardwell providing 85% of the country’s supply.

But he expects farmers to get back on their feet within four to five months.

“One good thing is that the cyclone has come in a little earlier than Larry did, so we’ve got a number more weeks of summer season for the young plants to go through,” he said.

-AAP


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