Vanessa Levis

Fruit and veg to cost more as a result of ill-wind Ita

FRUIT and vegetable prices could be on the rise as the effects of Cyclone Ita start to be felt across the state.

Growcom, the state's peak horticulture organisation, estimated about 50% of vegetable production in the state's north had been damaged by severe flooding associated with the cyclone.

Growcom chief executive officer Alex Livingstone said flooding in the Bowen area was one of the worst in more than 40 years.

"Growers with crops such as tomatoes, capsicums, beans, chillies and eggplants have had a bitter setback," he said.

"Growers must start from scratch to prepare their properties for re-planting.

"Growers will have no income from their current crop to pay for the necessary work needed to be done to set themselves up for the next harvest and in some cases will not receive any income for 12 months."

Mr Livingstone said there had been about 20% losses to banana production in the Lakeland region, south of Cooktown, and nearby Hopevale's banana production had been totally wiped out.

He said other parts of Queensland had been more fortunate, as wind lost intensity rapidly in the Mareeba area.

Potato crops suffered minimal damage while avocado, pawpaw and mango trees remain standing.