Blog: Dean BestReeling from the floods, Australia's farmers prepare for Cyclone Yasi

Dean Best | 2 February 2011

Queensland, a key part of Australia's food sector, after being hit by some of the worst floods in living memory, is now preparing for what is being labelled as the fiercest cyclone the country has seen.

Tropical cyclone Yasi, upgraded overnight to a 'category five' cyclone, the most severe rating, is bearing down on northern Queensland.

Sugar growers within Australia's Canegrowers association, remembering the impact that cyclone Larry had on the industry five years ago, has estimated that Yasi could cost the sugarcane industry A$500m.

Five years ago, the state's cane sugar and banana sectors were hit by Larry, which wiped out up to 50% of cane crops, the association said.

Reflecting on the potential impact of Yasi, Cangrowers CEO Steve Greenwood said: "The half a billion projected losses do not even start to include the cost of broader damage to infrastructure such as the road and rail network, houses, property, mills and ports."

Crops in Queensland were affected by last month's floods, which followed wet weather in Victoria in December, which hit the wheat, canola, barley and fruit and vegetable sectors.


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