Australia: Tomato industry expecting a boom, farmers remain sceptical

Although the value of the tomato industry has been forecast to increase by 10% in the 2017-18 financial year, the unpredictability of the industry has made Southern Downs, Queensland, growers uncertain whether their region has truly benefited.

This year, growers in some areas, including in Applethorpe, were hit by a devastating storm, which ruined acres of produce. The summer heat has also caused disease to spread throughout some crops. Despite this, farmer Michael Simpson from Ballandean said his season had started well and his production was consistent, but it was too early to tell whether it was better than previous years.

"It's all to do with supply and demand and supply has to do with the weather,” Simpson said. "When you get a fair bit of heat, you get a flush come through and you pick a lot more."

Simpson said tomatoes were going for a good price last year, but for the two years prior the price was low, as tomatoes sold for just $12 for a 10 kg box. At the moment, they are going for $21 a box.

The Warwick Daily News reports on the latest AgTrends report, that reveals tomato production would reach a value of $298 million, sending it higher than the previous five year average.

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