Crop loss heart­break

Cit­rus farm­ers in cri­sis

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS - ❏ Bran­don Livesay

DEPUTY Pre­mier Jeff Seeney had no an­swers for the dis­traught pri­mary pro­duc­ers of the North Bur­nett.

Meet­ing in Gayn­dah on Wed­nes­day, he heard the im­mense losses suf­fered by cit­rus grow­ers.

Cit­rus farmer Me­gan Roth said on 40.5 hectares (100 acres) of land, 60% of the trees were gone.

“We had 100% loss from the hail storm in De­cem­ber, so we had no crop any­way. Now we have no trees. How do you re­cover from that?” she said.

“This is our life that we’ve spent mil­lions of dol­lars on.

“I don’t know if we can care enough to keep it go­ing.”

Sec­re­tary of the Gayn­dah and District Fruit Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion Judy Shep­herd said the dam­age was far worse than the floods of 2010/11.

“Take 2010/11 and add 20%,” she said.

“Th­ese are crop losses you can’t re­cover and you never will. You can’t put a 15-yearold tree back in the ground.

“We’re liv­ing in third world con­di­tions.”

One of the main con­cerns was su­per­mar­kets look­ing overseas to keep prices low.

“They are al­ready sourc­ing pro­duce from overseas,” Mrs Shep­herd said.

“They are tak­ing ad­van­tage of a dis­as­ter. We need Coles and Woolies to put their money where their mouth is and sup­port lo­cal pro­duc­ers.”

Mr Seeney said the losses suf­fered were heart­break­ing, but he had no im­me­di­ate an­swers.

“We know the enor­mity of the task,” he said.

“No­mat­ter how big the prob­lem is we have to take it one step at a time.”

Photo: Contributed

DE­STRUC­TION: This or­chard on Reids Creek was wiped out.

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