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Feeling the squeeze

Thursday, 3rd February, 2011

Local fruit and vegetable seller Rodney Williams said extreme weather across the country was taking its toll on the price and availability of food in the city. Mr Williams said prices of some goods were fluctuating by as much as $4 per kilogram while others were unavailable. See page five for his advice on getting the best value for money Local fruit and vegetable seller Rodney Williams said extreme weather across the country was taking its toll on the price and availability of food in the city. Mr Williams said prices of some goods were fluctuating by as much as $4 per kilogram while others were unavailable. See page five for his advice on getting the best value for money

Fresh fruit and vegetable prices are rising and local traders are feeling the squeeze.

Rodney Williams of Schinella's Fruit Villa said a lack of quality fruit and vegetables was causing the increase in prices.

He blamed the lack of supply on fires in Western Australia along with the floods through many growing regions.

In one order apples cost him $4.99 a kilo, he said, while in the following order they cost him $7.99.

"They're slugging us extremely hard," he said.

"Specials are very hard to come by and that's across the board."

Mr Williams said because of the fluctuations, people should consider shopping for items every few days, instead of trying to budget a weekly shop.

He said pensioners' shopping was becoming harder, which made it harder to be healthy.

"What they got in a box they now get in a bag," he said.

The lack of supply would likely carry over into frozen and canned goods eventually, he said.

Schinella's Friendly Grocer's owner Michael Schinella said the current conditions were "just the tip of the iceberg ... with things like pumpkins, onions, tomatoes, capsicums, watermelon, rock melon - the problem is it's in very short supply," Mr Schinella said.

"There's just no availability of it."

He said it was definitely affecting prices.

"You can ring up the markets today and they quote you a price and the next day it's jumped six bucks or seven bucks or eight bucks a kilo.

"We could have the same thing that happened here five years ago with bananas at 13 bucks a kilo.

"I think there will be a fresh food scarcity in the next few months ... there will be enough of it around, it'll just be very expensive."

Mr Schinella said affected growing regions were having a double negative effect. He gave the example of Gatton, a Queensland pumpkin growing region that sells pumpkins to Brisbane, South Australian and Victorian areas. Following flooding, not only were they unable to supply those areas, but the Brisbane and Gatton area were buying from South Australian suppliers.

"(They) have to eat as well," he said.

Mr Schinella said the best way to describe the effect would be "a drop in quality and a spike in price."

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