Shelby Wareham from Yamanto Country Markets shows off a punnet of strawberries on sale for as little as $1.99. Fruit and vegetable prices have dropped recently.
Shelby Wareham from Yamanto Country Markets shows off a punnet of strawberries on sale for as little as $1.99. Fruit and vegetable prices have dropped recently. Claudia Baxter

Residents loving the food prices

FRESH food lovers in Ipswich are celebrating, with shoppers enjoying the lowest fruit and vegetable prices in years.

Prices skyrocketed in the region following January's floods and Cyclone Yasi but have been in steady decline ever since.

While some produce, mainly bananas, remain in short supply, most other seasonal fruit and vegetables have experienced a bumper harvest, leading to lower prices at the checkout.

The recently released Melbourne Institute Monthly Inflation Gauge noted fruit and vegetable prices fell 1.6 per cent in August.

Yamanto Country Market owner Eddie Habchi laughed off the figure, saying the drop in prices in the stores was much higher than that.

"It's more like 160 per cent in my store," Mr Habchi said.

"They've all fallen in a big way except for a couple of lines.

"It's happened mainly over the last three to four weeks.

"Citrus is really, really cheap, but overall there is plenty of stock around at the moment.

"Strawberries are a good example.

"They are more than 100 per cent down."

Mr Habchi said he had seen plenty of people taking advantage of the low prices and he expected the bargains to be around for a while longer.

"People are putting more in their trolley but they're not having to spend any more because of the low prices," he said.

"We are between seasons at the moment but I think we are heading for a good season of mangoes and stonefruit."

January's floods destroyed crops at many Lockyer Valley farms, but more recently farms have delivered bumper harvests.

Gatton farmer Brian Crust said after the problems brought on the big wet, production had recovered but at the worst possible time for Lockyer Valley farmers.

"We've had fairly good crops recently," he said.

"Due to the flooding the rest of Australia planted crops so there's now an oversupply in the market.

"Prices are down on all fruit and veggies.

"We're actually leaving crops behind, they're not worth cutting."


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