Australia: Cucumber growers hit the jackpot

There has been a distinct shortage of cucumbers across Australia in 2018. This has been tough on consumers but excellent for some farmers. The short supply in recent months has been caused by unfavourably cold weather affecting yields in the prime growing areas of northern New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia, coupled with some growers planting less than previous years.

But in the Northern Territory, cucumber farmer Michael Quach has had a bumper year and is wrapping up his most lucrative harvest ever. "I have a big smile this year," he said. "The season has been very good this year, the money has been really good. I needed that though, because the price has been pretty bad over the last three or four years".

Mr Quach grows his hydroponic cucumbers under a 6.5-hectare shade house near Darwin. He has used nearly 60 per cent of the facility to grow cucumbers this year and produced more than 600,000 of them for market. At the height of the cucumber shortage in June, Mr Quach said he was getting $1.50 per cucumber, which is well up on the usual price he gets of between 80 cents and $1 each.

Thousands of kilometres away, at the Sydney Markets, wholesaler Matthew Helou said in the middle of winter, Lebanese cucumbers reached an incredible $70 a box. "My best summary of the cucumber market in 2018? I actually think it's been unbelievable," Mr Helou told abc.net.au.

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