Shoppers could soon be paying much more for their groceries as Australia’s bushfire crisis pushes up food prices.
Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have been urged to raise their prices to help industries get back on their feet after the fires.
The cost of vegetables is expected to rise by as much as 50 per cent with meat and milk prices also predicted to soar.
At least one billion animals have been wiped out by the catastrophic fires, including thousands of sheep and cattle.
Fresh produce is also in limited supply after thousands of crops were destroyed in the blazes.
The cost of fresh vegetables is expected to rise as high as 50 per cent following the bushfires
At least 19,000 farmers have been impacted by the devastating bushfires across the country since November.
Queenslanders are expected to pay the highest for fresh produce as much of it comes from or through Victoria and New South Wales, according to peak vegetable body AUSVEG.
‘That product has to be rerouted through Melbourne and up the Hume Highway, which adds significantly to the time, cost and duration of moving product around,’ chief executive James Whiteside told the ABC.
‘That’s certainly having an impact on what you’re seeing on the supermarket shelves in the northern half of Australia.’
Federal minister Bridget McKenzie was warned shoppers that meat prices will go up
Mr Whiteside said the produce prices of ‘pretty well anything’ will go up.
‘A lot of those products where growers in Queensland have been sourcing out of southern states, which they typically do at this time of year, have been severely impacted,’ he said.
Federal Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie confirmed prices will go up while announcing $100 million in relief for affected farmers.
‘Supermarkets are letting the Australian public know that they’ll have to pay more for their red meat – yes, you will,’ she told reporters on Tuesday.
‘That they’ll have to pay more for their fruit and vegetables … (and) milk.’
At least a billion animals, including millions have livestock have been killed in the bushfires
Coles said many of its suppliers have been directly impacted by the fires and drought.
‘Some products, particularly in fresh produce, may be unavailable or in limited supply in the short term,’ a Coles spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
She added dairy farmers receive some of the highest farmgate prices being paid by any wholesale purchaser in their local market and doesn’t believe the fires will affect milk prices.
‘Coles has been making additional payments to directly-contracted dairy farmers in NSW and northern Victoria to help them meet higher expenses as a result of the drought, without making any change to retail prices,’ she said.
‘None of the dairy farmers with whom we have contracts in Victoria and NSW have so far been directly impacted by the current fires however we are in regular contact with them and will provide further assistance if required.’
Coles doesn’t believe milk prices will go up as none of its dairy farmers from in Victoria and NSW have so far been directly impacted by the current fires (stock image)
Woolworths says it’s actively monitoring the impact of the bushfires on the fresh food supply chain with its suppliers.
‘At this stage, we have yet to see an impact on our fresh food supply because of bushfires. It’s still early days in assessing the full situation on the ground,’ a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘If we find there are farmers within our supply chain impacted by bushfires, we will be happy to discuss the ways in which we can support them to get back on their feet.’