News

Squeezed by supermarkets

HOME GROWN: Cooloola Berries farmer Jason Lewis with his pick-your-own strawberries at Wolvi.PHOTO: GREG MILLER
HOME GROWN: Cooloola Berries farmer Jason Lewis with his pick-your-own strawberries at Wolvi.PHOTO: GREG MILLER

THIS year's strawberry season is winding down as the days warm up, but it has left some producers out of pocket.

Wolvi grower and Cooloola Berries operator Jason Lewis said their biggest hurdle was low prices offered by supermarkets.

He said $1 punnets were used as a customer drawcard, which made it difficult to compete with large corporations.

"One of the biggest problems we've had this year is customers buying cheap strawberries," he said.

"Even for me, it costs $1.30 (per punnet) to break even.

"Thirty five years ago my parents got more for a punnet than we do. That's how much prices have changed."

Small crops producer and Farmer and Sun proprietor Steve Waugh said it was not just strawberry growers hit by the low prices.

"There were a lot of cheap strawberries this year, but I've noticed even broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower and beans the prices have been down. It's unbelievable," he said.

Mr Waugh said supermarket giants' low prices make it difficult for farmers to push their prices up, but they still needed to find the money to cover production inputs.

Mr Lewis and his family work their 30,000-plant farm entirely alone and he said versatility was one of the keys to survival in the industry.

The farm has been operating for three generations, but low prices and increasing input costs are the reason why Mr Lewis and his

family have gone down the "pick-your-own" path, inviting customers on to the farm.

"We're just trying to do something different," Mr Lewis said. "You have to make your own decisions. By selling from the farm we can set our own price."

The Wolvi growers also have plans to sow blueberry seeds next year, but that will take around 18 months to establish.

Gympie Times

Topics:  farming, gympie, produce, strawberries



Gunalda service hub could create up to 50 new jobs

The new United service centre being built just south of Gunalda.

A $10m service centre at Gunalda will boost employment

3 major projects go before Gympie Regional Council

INFRASTRUCTURE: Anglers will not need a boat to reach one of Tin Can Bay's best fishing spots, if councillors succeed in lobbying the state government for its $2 milion cost

Overdue water project, CBD upgrade and a $6 million jetty

Gympie gathers to remember fallen police officers

CARRY THE WEIGHT: Flag bearers Snr Constable Robert Smith, Constable Luis Larrate and Mr Chris Sang recover the flags following the 2016 ceremony.

GYMPIE community comes together to remember fallen friends.

Local Partners

Talented young musicians hitting all the right notes

PITCH PERFECT: Gympie High School Students Eliza Parker and Sarah Thomas ahead of their big weekend at the Conservatorium in Brisbane.

YOUNG Gympie musicians are hitting the next level.

Kim Kardashian West wants restraining order against prankster

She was attacked by Vitalii Sediuk for the second time in two years

Cliff Richard to release 101st album

Sir Cliff Richard's album cover

Sir Cliff Richard is to release his 101st album

Gympie Gig guide for the coming weekend

SOULFUL: Gypsy Hawk will play the Kin Kin Country Life Hotel this Saturday night from 7pm.

Want to know about Gympie's nightlife? Read on!

CMC Rocks faces fan backlash over date change, headliners

The 10th annual CMC Rocks festival will be headlined by The Dixie Chicks.

FANS are not happy about festival being pushed back by two weeks.

Gympie Century 21 owner forges his own path

ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Billy Mitchell (right) with Queensland franchise manager at Century 21, Glenn Stanton.

It's been a meteoric rise over the past few years for Billy Mitchell

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Huge Gunalda service station set to open by December

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

The massive servo is the biggest United development in Queensland.

Highway upgrade drives momentum in affordable market

Accessibility and affordability are keeping interest high

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'