Flood waters deliver pain for farmers

Sarah QuintonThe West Australian
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Hundreds of tonnes of fruit and vegetables earmarked for Perth markets have been washed out to sea by rising floodwaters that swept through Carnarvon.

As growers struggle to assess the damage, pastoralists expect thousands of cattle deaths. They hold little hope that any of their herd will survive because the region has had two years of drought.

Perth’s biggest fruit and vegetable wholesale market in Canning Vale had no deliveries of mangoes yesterday because of the flood.

Allstates Produce agent Tony Tonich said he had about 120 trays in cold stores that were sold for $60 a tray yesterday but the Carnarvon mango season was now finished.

Market prices for grapes jumped from $80 to $120 a carton yesterday, more than doubling prices from $7.98-$16.98/kg at Woolworths Innaloo and $19.98/kg at Coles Innaloo.

Similarly, market prices for Carnarvon seedless watermelons hit $1.20/kg, up from 80¢ a kilogram last week, while rockmelon soared from $16 to $32 a carton. Pumpkin prices are also set to rise.

Carnarvon Growers Association general manager Malcolm Jones said ground-growing fruit and vegetables such as rockmelon, watermelon and pumpkins would have been washed out to sea.

“If the stuff has been kept in cold store and they can get it out soon enough but from what I hear the road is going to be closed for a few days, ” he said.

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