Queensland 2013 Floods: Delivery of Food, Supplies to Affected Areas Becomes a Challenge
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 30, 2013 5:33 PM EST
Australian supermarket companies such as Wesfarmers vowed not to increase their prices in the face of the floods that have affected Queensland over the past few days. But the supermarket giant, however, did admit that the delivery of food and other supplies from warehouse to target areas could become a challenge.
"The indications are that the biggest initial issue is logistics, just getting product in and out of places," Richard Goyder, Wesfarmers' top head, said during an analysts' briefing on Wednesday.
"The flood impacts are a bit early to assess," he said.
"It's not a key growing time at the moment. Some areas will be highly impacted but hopefully not from a customer point of view."
This, as citrus growers in Queensland reported potentially losing hundreds of millions of dollars as orchards got entirely wiped out by flooding, according to Judy Shepherd, the secretary of the Gayndah and District Fruit Growers Association.
"Catastrophic - hundreds of millions of dollars damage just in the citrus industry," she said.
Ms Shepherd told ABC television that a large number of citrus orchards had been completely wiped out while parts of others dropped into the Burnett River, with the damage to infrastructure described as "enormous."
Judith Damiani, chief executive of Citrus Australia, forecast a shortage of Australian lemons in supermarkets next month. The Burnett region produces 50 per cent of Australia's lemons and 60 per cent of mandarins.
Ms Damiani said 40 farmers in the region have reported that their packing sheds, irrigation systems, farm equipment as well as homes had been seriously damaged by the floods.
Meanwhile Wesfarmers remained confident it would be able to get from other sources products that were otherwise sourced from the Bundaberg region, such as ginger and sweet potatoes.
"I'm sure there will be other sources," Mr Goyder said.
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