Strawberries are selling for well below the cost of production due to an oversupply.
Recent rain in the major growing areas of southern Queensland has resulted in damaged strawberries being dumped onto the market, right at the season’s peak production time, ABC Rural reports.
Jennifer Rowling, industry development officer with the Qld Strawberry Industry, said the combination of events means there's a lot of cheap strawberries around.
“Prices have been fairly stable because there has been some bad weather and some growers lost a lot of fruit.
“But they seem to be getting rid of the fruit that was badly affected.
Rowling said some growers lost between 50 and 90 per cent of their product.
“One grower lost 25,000 trays of strawberries which is a massive loss.”
Gavin Scurr, managing director of Piñata farms, which grows strawberries on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and Granite Belt said the costs of production on the farm is about $1.80 per punnet.
“Early in the season, when there's not much product around, we get a lot more than $1.80 but, at the moment, when they're selling for $1.25 that's well below the cost of production.”
Scurr said the retailers selling cheap strawberries aren't making any money either.
“Coles and Woolworths are paying similar to that sort of money… selling them at cost… so they're really trying to move this flush through so that we can get the price back up again.”