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“Tough times”: Here's how much fresh food prices will leap due to bushfires and drought

“Tough times”: Here's how much fresh food prices will leap due to bushfires and drought

Aussies can expect price hikes for groceries as farmers and industries continue to struggle with ongoing drought and bushfires.

At a press conference in Canberra on Tuesday, Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie warned that shoppers will have to pay more for fresh food staples, including fruits, vegetables, meat and milk.

“In terms of prices for food, you might have seen reporting that supermarkets are letting the Australian public know that they’ll have to pay more for their red meat. Yes, you will,” McKenzie said.

“That they’ll have to pay more for their fruit and vegetables because of the bushfires and the drought. Yes, you will.

“The supermarkets also need to let the Australian public know that, because of the bushfires and the drought, you will have to pay more for your milk. Processors are doing the right thing by farmers by actually paying milk cheques when in many cases they’re not getting the product.

“Tough times such as we’re experiencing now, drought and bushfire, are severely impacting the costs of our farmers and now our processors in the supply chain, so the other end of the supply chain needs to stump up.”

There are 19,000 “primary producers, farmers, fishers and foresters” within the impacted areas, she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that farmers affected by bushfires will be eligible for grants of up to $75,000, with the money taken from the $2 billion bushfire recovery fund.

The PM also warned that Australia’s hot and dry conditions will continue for several months.

The vegetable industry’s representative body AUSVEG forecast that vegetable prices will soar by up to 50 per cent due to destroyed crops and added transport costs from highway closures.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see prices moving up between 20 per cent and 50 per cent,” chief executive James Whiteside told the ABC.

“Those sort of larger increases are unlikely to be sustainable, but consumers will see a range of higher prices across pretty well everything.”