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Australia Extreme weather brings potato shortage and sends prices soaring

Shoppers are spitting chips over the rising cost of washed potatoes amid reduced ­supplies. Disgruntled customers have reported $12 price tags for 3kg bags of basic cleanskin spuds at some supermarkets. Loose potato prices at some Victorian retailers have climbed by up to 20 percent and could rise further.

Industry body AUSVEG spokesman Luke Raggart said a summer heatwave and ­extreme wind had disrupted harvests and planting in the production heartland of South Australia. It could be May or June ­before regular supply resumed, he said.

But Coles spokeswoman Anna


Kelly said supply was “now starting to return to normal and we are continuing to work closely with our suppliers as we recover from these challenging weather conditions”.

South Australia produces 80 per cent of the nation’s fresh washed potatoes.

Mr Raggart said average loose washed potato prices could rise up to 30 per cent to $4.50 a kilogram. But brushed potatoes, grown in several states, including Victoria, were relatively dirt cheap for about $2 a kilo.

“If anything, there is an oversupply of those,” Mr Raggart said.

Farmers were unlikely to see a cent of any extra charges imposed on consumers.

“Prices paid at the farmgate have been stagnant for some time,” Mr Raggart said.

source : http://www.australianexporter.com.au/2014/04/01/australia-extreme-weather-brings-potato-shortage-sends-prices-soaring/