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AAP

2013-01-29

While it is too early to assess the impact flooding and storms in northern NSW and Queensland will have on the cost of food, consumers were not expected to be hit with massive price hikes.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (BFVGA) executive officer Peter Hockings said it was impossible to assess the damage to crops while parts of the affected regions were still under water.

He also said that some tree crops may initially appear fine only to die of water damage a few months later.

"It will be months down the track before we have the full picture of how far reaching the damage will be," he said.

"And it will be at least two weeks before we get an idea of the immediate damage."

He said the BFVGA was also concerned with any damage to infrastructure which could prevent farmers from returning to production.

A spokeswoman for supermarket giant Woolworths said it was too soon to assess the damage to suppliers' crops in the affected regions, but there did not appear to be widespread crop losses.

She said road closures may also cause delays to deliveries and could prevent workers being able to harvest crops.

"It's very early," she said.

"Once the water has subsided we will have a clearer idea of what the impact will be."

Woolworths stores in Bundaberg and Maryborough remain closed due to flooding and outlets in Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Cairns and Mackay were experiencing delays in deliveries of fresh produce.

A Coles spokeswoman said it would some time to assess the damage but the supermarket giant currently was well stocked with fresh food so there would not be an immediate effect.

Coles stores in Bundaberg, Jimboomba and Inala were currently closed because of the floods and deliveries to another 20 stores in far north Queensland had been delayed.

Queensland Farmers Federation spokesman Brad Pfeffer said while the affected areas such as Bundaberg were significant suppliers of fruit and vegetables, there was no specific crop grown there that could not be found in other parts of Australia.

"In terms of prices it's too early to tell but it's not like what happened with bananas during Cyclone Yasi," he said.

"Bananas are grown in such a specific area, that's why prices went through the roof."

Queensland horticultural group Growcom was currently contacting farmers to get a clearer picture of the damage to crops.

Chief executive officer Alex Livingstone said a detailed assessment of the damage was not available yet but it was not as more widespread than the 2010/11 floods.

Farmers were now waiting for the flood water to recede from their properties before they were able to clean up and get back to production.

"Some growers are faced with an anxious wait as water levels continue to rise," he said.

"For many, it will be at least six months before their farms have an income again.

"For others, where orchards have been uprooted by the strength of the wind or damaged by flood waters, it will take much longer."

Kylie Williams