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AU: Sydney's tomato price hike set to drop

The tomato price spike is set to drop this week, according to predictions of a veteran inner west grocer.

Frank Bonfante, 61, who has run Frank's Fruit Market in Haberfield for 38 years, said the worst of the weather conditions which had crippled yields and pushed tomatoes up to $12/kg had passed.

Cold, wet conditions in Queensland's Bowen fruit bowl, where most of Sydney's tomatoes come from, have led to the shortage.

"Tomatoes have been up and down in price, it depends how scarce they get and how the season progresses," Mr Bonfante said.

"It's been hard on business. It hurts everybody."

This week Mr Bonfante sold regular tomatoes for $7.99/kg and roma for $9.99/kg as opposed to the usual price of $3.99/kg at this time of year. He said customers were still buying them, if in smaller amounts.

Deputy CEO of grower lobby group AusVeg William Churchill said, unlike when banana prices spiked last year, tomatoes would be bought regardless of price.

"You can't really have a garden salad without tomatoes. It's a unique item," Mr Churchill said.

But when are prices likely to drop? Mr Churchill said crop yield would increase as summer approached.

"When the weather is going to stabilise to more optimal growing conditions we'll start to see prices relax," he said. "It could be a week or four weeks."

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