Cyclone bends banana prices

ON THE RISE: Garden of Eden owner Paul Walters says bananas prices have doubled since Cyclone Yasi hit Queensland.

Banana prices have soared after cyclone damage to Queensland’s prime banana-growing regions.

Colac’s Garden of Eden owner Paul Walters said Cyclone Yasi flattened banana crops and led to a doubling in prices from his Innisfail supplier.

Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said the cyclone wiped out about 75 per cent of banana crops in north Queensland.

Mr Walters said bananas cost about $3 a kilogram last Wednesday and jumped to $6.50 a kilogram on Friday.

He said his supplier expected prices to continue to climb.

“They expect a price rise again next week, but no one knows how extensive it’ll be, how much higher they’ll go,” he said on Friday.

“They’ve just got to work out what’s been wiped out on their farms.

“So today instead of buying 26 boxes of bananas, I only ended up buying 18 because of the prices.

“So in an instant I’ve determined that to be the change in our shop.”

Supermarkets such as Woolworths have also increased banana prices because of low supply.

Mr Walters said it was hard to predict how much higher prices could rise.

He said bananas soared to about $11 a kilogram, or $120 to $130 a box, when Cyclone Larry tore through Innisfail in 2006.

“Prices might have even got to $150 a box,” Mr Walters said.

“We’re at the growers’ mercy,” he said.

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