“APEELING” PRICES: Roger and Marion Hill are happy banana costs are dropping.
“APEELING” PRICES: Roger and Marion Hill are happy banana costs are dropping. Colin Gilmore

Banana prices bend back

BANANA prices are set to drop faster than a freshly cut bunch.

Tugun Fruit Market owner of eight years, Roger Hill said by December banana-lovers would see "more typical long-term prices".

"Afterward there'll be fluctuations because of an initial flush of bananas, then small shortages," Mr Hill said.

"But unless there's another cyclone, prices won't get back to what we've seen this winter."

Mr Hill said it would take 12 months for price fluctuations to "iron out" according to what growers told him of their experience after Cyclone Larry in 2006.

"It's been tough for the wholesalers, as well as the growers, because they had virtually no bananas to sell, but they still had infrastructure such as ripening rooms, vehicles, selling floors, refrigeration and staff to pay for," Mr Hill said.

"It has had a dramatic affect on fruit shops, because bananas are our biggest selling line.

"Our shop normally sells 12 boxes a day, but with the way prices have been we've only sold four a day." Local growers have been the only vanguard against prices being even higher than $10 per kilo, he said.

"I'm very happy for the growers, because it's tough for them when you get to the other extreme where prices are too cheap," he said.

"Once they're below the cost of production, about $3 per kilo, they can lose money because of that."

Mr Hill said there had been winners and losers from Cyclone Yasi hitting north Queensland this year.

"Local stock has been sent all over the country, but the poor growers affected directly by Yasi - in some cases they've lost all their production," he said.



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