Fries shortage hits Australia with major pubs warning they could run out before Christmas
- Australians face hot chip shortage just weeks before Christmas after wild storm
- Potato farms in Ballarat, western Victoria, have been hit by wild weather
- Producers warned that storms delayed potato planting and caused shortages
- Farmers in Victoria, WA and Tasmania also struggle with fertilizer and transport costs
Australians are facing a hot potato crisis just weeks before Christmas after wild weather on the East Coast devastated potato crops.
Households are on high alert after farmers warned potatoes would be in short supply this month as pubs, restaurants and supermarkets scramble to secure potatoes.
Wild weather on potato farms in Ballarat, western Victoria, has delayed potato planting, and farmers have issued a grim warning to fast-food lovers.
Potatoes are generally planted in late October in the region, and weather conditions for planting are expected to remain unsuitable until Christmas.
Wild weather on potato farms in Ballarat, western Victoria, has delayed potato planting and farmers issued a grim warning to fast food lovers (file image)
The delay has caused significant shortages on the east and west coasts of Australia, which have been exacerbated by rising fertilizer and transport costs.
Potato growers say the cost of producing the popular tuber has doubled, but supermarkets were unwilling to budge on prices.
Venues in Western Australia are also battling long delivery delays and have resorted to using potatoes stolen from supermarkets.
Tasmanian growers have also been hit by a shortage of hot chips as supplies of fresh potatoes in supermarkets have hit a record low.
The delay has led to major shortages on the east and west coasts of Australia, which have been exacerbated by rising fertilizer and transport costs (east coast)
In November, farmers warned that there would be a major shortage in Australia after a three to four week delay in the growing calendar.
An increase in the price of fuel and rising production costs are contributing to the crisis,
“Fertilizer, wages, operating equipment – everything has exploded,” Victorian potato farmer Tony Cummaudo told the Herald Sun in July.
Potato farmer Rodney Guthrie said there is also a short crop this year due to flooding, which is contributing to higher prices.
Farmers have warned customers of a potential potato shortage in Victoria after a storm hit a major growing region near Ballarat, west of Melbourne.
“Usually it’s $5 for a 5kg bag (of potatoes), but electricity and fuel have gone up and fertilizer has doubled,” Guthrie said.
“The shortage started after the summer rains, which caused a deficit in the growing season and the tons were not there compared to what we normally get.”
Vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli have also increased in price in the last two months.
The price surge follows a wet start to the year with record rains and floods ruining crops in New South Wales and Queensland.