Seven million vegetable plants poisoned in Australia

July 7th, 2010 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, July 7 (IANS) Over seven million vegetable plants were poisoned with a herbicide in an act of sabotage at an Australian nursery, leading to speculation that prices may spiral in the coming days.
Prices of tomato, capsicum, melons and brinjal could double or even triple after seven million plants, including four million seedlings, were poisoned at a nursery in Bowen in north Queensland, the Age reported.

The Bowen region is the largest producer of winter vegetables and the poisoning would affect about 30 to 40 growers in the area, Bowen Growers Association spokeswoman Denise Kreymborg said.

Though established crops were not affected, Kreymborg predicted a price spike around September, when the poisoned crops would have been on the market.

“You can expect prices to double or even triple, we don’t know for sure,” she said.

Mayor Mike Brunker said it was the fourth time crops were sabotaged in the region in the past decade. He called on police to offer a major reward for information on the crime.

“We just need someone to come forward who knows the grub who has done this,” he said.

The price spike may be similar or worse to when Cyclone Larry hit Queensland region in 2006 and devastated most of Australia’s banana crop. This devastation saw the price of bananas spiral beyond $10 per kg.

Kreymborg said the poisoning was on a much larger scale than previous incidents and the loss of revenue would be hard to take for growers.

The growers were not making profit at all, Kreymborg said.

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