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RIVERLAND STONE FRUIT
Excellent crops but prices too low
Stone fruit growers in the Riverland say they are harvesting their best quality fruit in years, but facing lower prices.
The harvest for many Riverland growers started in late October and will continue until about early April.
Renmark grower and South Australian Fresh Fruit Growers Association chairman Dino Ceracchi says prices were down at the start of the season by about 20 per cent because a bigger crop has weakened overall demand.
"Then all of a sudden there's a panic, and that panic forced that price down very very quickly and everyone's reeling and wondering what's going on," he said.
Mr Ceracchi said consumers would benefit from lower prices.
"The crops are quite heavy throughout the country, there have been no bad rain events to knock things around," Mr Ceracchi said.
"The oversupply is causing quite a drop in prices, particularly with white nectarines as they are one of those varieties that grossly over supplied the market early in the season." But he says there is still time for prices to rise before the end of the season.
Many growers were forced to leave their fruit rot on the trees simply because current prices are not viable. Last week, the main supermarket chain stores in South Australia were selling Victorian nectarines and peaches for $2.80 a kilo. That's the lowest they have been for almost 40 years one grower told the Greek Tribune.
About 800 growers in 26 regions across Australia produce more than 100,000 tonnes of nectarines, plums, apricots and peaches from October to April next year.
Orange and avocado growers have also been facing the issue of high volumes but lower prices.
The same applies to Cherries. On Christmas Eve they were selling for $7.00 a kilo, which is considered too low.
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