Australian prices of watermelons and chilies to rise after torrential rains

Australians will probably pay a premium for popular summer produce, including watermelons and chilies, as widespread storms have destroyed crops across Queensland. The deluge has made harvest difficult in some regions, with parts of Bundaberg receiving record-breaking totals in the past two weeks. The rains have saturated growers' properties.

According to Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers managing director Bree Grima, the impact of the rainfall on local crops was devastating: "We have been calling out for rain for many years now, and we seem to have received an awful lot; producers with crops in the ground are reporting up to 85% losses for those crops.”

Ms. Grima said watermelon growers were reporting significant crop losses. "We've got some beautiful watermelons that were coming out of the region, their season had only just started," she said. "Our lychees will be starting in a couple of weeks, and we will then be going into our mango season. Those crops are looking really good, but we need the tap to be turned off to allow those products to get to the end of their crop cycle."

Chilli growers have been forced to revert to traditional methods of handpicking, with the saturated ground making it impossible to use heavy machinery. The water is also causing chilies to split and some crops have already been thrown out.

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