Choice … prices may jump. Photo: Ingrid Rasmussen
CONSUMERS may be faced with rising fresh food prices after the Queensland and NSW floods.
Floods in the Lockyer Valley and Bundaberg in Queensland are likely to affect tomato, zucchini, chilli and sweet potato crops, the vegetable and potato industry body, Ausveg, said.
Bundaberg, one of the towns worst-hit by last week's floods, grows 90 per cent of Australia's sweet potatoes, spokesman Hugh Gurney said.
''Obviously when there is trouble with the supplier, getting produce through to market [means] there is a significant chance those prices will rise,'' Mr Gurney said.
But both major supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles, said it was too early to tell whether there would be a price increase across Australia.
Until farmers can get access to their farms it would be hard to tell what crops were damaged, a spokesman for Woolworths, Benedict Brook, said.
''With water going through the Lockyer Valley and Bundaberg - they are major growing areas - we are waiting to see what the full and long-term effect will be.
''But … there will be shortages in the short-term,'' Mr Brook said.
Many roads remain blocked in the affected areas. On Friday, North Bundaberg remained an exclusion zone, with water, sewerage and power services cut.
A spokesman for Coles, Jim Cooper, agreed it was too early to predict whether prices of Coles' produce would escalate.
''We have had a lot of challenges in northern Queensland and northern NSW where stores weren't necessarily impacted by the floods themselves, but it was very challenging to get deliveries into the stores.''
But banana-lovers can breathe easy. The banana crops in northern Queensland, which were decimated after the 2011 floods, have most likely escaped damage.
''We don't believe that has happened, [it] is whether farmers have access to them,'' Mr Brook said.
An IBISWorld report in the wake of the 2011 floods said Queensland supplies 28 per cent of Australia's fruit and vegetables, making it the leading producer of fresh produce in the country.