Sabotage puts squeeze on prices

Following the June sabotage of vegetable seedlings in Bowen, Queensland, the Brisbane Markets now starting to see a gap in production with rising prices for tomatoes and capsicums.

On 25 June, seven million tomato plants were found poisoned at Supa Seedlings Nursery and the following day on the neighbouring property, Donnelly Farms, 16,000 mature plants and 40 tonnes of produce were found destroyed. Initial police investigations found a herbicide had been injected into the irrigation systems.

Wholesaler Peter Kedwell says Brisbane Markets is now seeing signs of a gap in production.

“For the very first time we’re seeing capsicums going up in price, that has probably had the greatest percentage lift and, about time, we’re seeing tomatoes move up in price, I don’t think they’re going to astronomical prices but we are seeing the quantities down this week and prices are starting to increase,” he said.

Mr Kedwell expects tomatoes to rise from $2 to $3 per kilo and he says capsicums have already jumped by $30 per box and rising.

The Queensland State Government has posted a $200,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the perpetrators. Police are continuing to investigate the alleged sabotage.