New South Wales primary industries minister Ian Macdonald has advised that higher food prices over Christmas can be expected if rain is not forthcoming over the coming fortnight.

Macdonald yesterday (23 August) said that the drought situation in the state remained alarming despite a slight improvement in the latest drought figures – which showed 63.9% of NSW was in drought.

As a result, key crops such as canola, wheat and barley are under pressure.

“If we don’t get some reasonable rainfall over the next fortnight or so, many of these crops will be turned out to livestock for fodder purposes,” the minister told reporters. “And it will mean, of course, a reduction in the total production when it’s harvested later this year.”

“If we get substantial shortfalls in production this year … food prices over the Christmas period could be under some pressure.”

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