Labor shortage limits supply, increases prices before Christmas

Fruit and vegetable prices will likely go up for West Australians this Christmas as supply issues hit wholesalers. A combination of high input costs, labor shortfalls in picking and packing, and flooding in eastern states means less produce is getting to market.

According to Market West chief executive Rod McPherson, fruit and vegetable supply at WA's central markets in Canning Vale was down by about 20 percent. "Supply is limited… we've seen the growers restrict their production, mostly because of the labor availability," he said. "Economics would tell you whenever there's a shortage, the prices will go up, and that's what we're experiencing here now."

The price of other inputs, such as fuel and fertilizer, have increased, inflating the cost of production. It means consumers may need to pay more for festive fruit and vegetables this Christmas. Flooding in eastern states is also having an effect on WA's markets and availability.

All in all, although the volumes of fruit and vegetables coming into the markets are smaller, there is still plenty of produce, just no oversupply as seen in previous years.


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