The price of vegetables has fallen by more than 5% over the past week or so, according to the Peak Industry Body for Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers, AUSVEG.

AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy said that wholesale vegetable prices, which are a good indicator of the retail market, had retreated in recent weeks, after a strong run from the start of the year until mid-March.

“If you look at the figures in recent weeks, prices at the wholesale level have pulled back sharply and the wholesale vegetable market is a key indicator for the retail sector,” Mr Mulcahy said.

“This is actually a great time for consumers to be buying vegetables as there is real value to be had out there,” he said.

Mr Mulcahy said that temporary weather conditions were a major factor in increases to vegetable prices in the early part of this year due to an undersupply.

“Some production areas had losses due to extreme weather conditions in the early part of 2010 but recent heavy rains have resulted in an excess of supply that will benefit price-conscious consumers,” he said.

Mr Mulcahy said that revenues from the higher prices in the early part of 2010 would not necessarily flow from the retailers on to Australian vegetable growers, who were still struggling under the weight of increasing imports from China and New Zealand and were usually forced to absorb any price fluctuations due to the long term nature of their contracts.

A price rise in the wholesale vegetable market from mid-February to mid-March was followed by an equally sharp decline from mid-March to mid-April of $1.01 per kg or 35.4%, the industry’s Veginsights report reveals.

Veginsights reports that the overall wholesale vegetable price per kg declined even further last week by 5.3% to $2.09 per kg, driven by consecutive declines, with an 11.8% reduction in the price of soft cooked vegetables and a 5.5% reduction in salad components.

Cauliflower, capsicums, peas and broccoli were the most significant declines from the previous week, while cucumbers, garlic and chillies firmed as demand for salads eased with the cooler weather.

A broader Veginsights market analysis reveals that vegetable prices in 2009 were at levels below that of the previous year, as food CPI declined overall in 2009.

The Veginsights report is produced as part of the Vegetable Industry Development Programme and is funded through a levy paid by vegetable growers with matching funds from the Australian Government.

AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the interests of over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.

Andrew White, Senior Communications Officer, AUSVEG
Ph: (03) 9822 0388, Mob: 0409 989 575, Email: