• Australia's potato supply has been affected by flood waters. (Flickr)Source: Flickr
The price of Australian spuds is on the rise.
Alyssa Braithwaite

28 Oct 2016 - 1:42 PM  UPDATED 5 Nov 2016 - 6:06 PM

Be prepared to pay more for your roast spuds, hot chips and potato salad.

Australia is experiencing a potato shortage because of flood-effected potato crops in the southern states.

Shaun Lindhe from AUSVEG, the national peak body representing the potato growers industry, says wet weather has caused difficulties harvesting potatoes, as well as planting next season's crop, because the ground is too wet for the machinery to drive on.

"The growers I've spoken to in Tasmania and Victoria in particular have had issues with the wet weather, meaning it's harder to get potatoes out of the ground," Lindhe tells SBS.

The variety worst affected is the dirt-covered brushed potatoes, because of the way they are prepared for sale. 

"It's harder to brush dirt off a potato if it's wet because it turns to mud," he says. "That's the main issue, so its mainly limited to brushed potatoes."

According to AUSVEG's Potato Tracker data from 2015, Australians purchase an average of 2.5kg every month, with brushed and washed potatoes the most popular varieties.

Brushed potatoes currently sell for about $3.50 a kilo at major supermarkets, but prices are expected to rise as the shortage worsens.

"Because of the nature of our industry, it's a supply and demand driven industry, so when demand does outstrip supply prices can go up," Lindhe says.

"We're expecting within the next few months that supply will return to normal levels, and the prices will sort themselves out." 

Thorpdale potato farmer Des Jennings told 3AW that those farmers whose crops have not been affected are getting prices "higher than I've ever seen". 

Queensland growers are reportedly reaping the rewards and fetching the best prices in 60 years, according to David Nix, Horticulture Industry Australia's Queensland representative for potatoes.

"We got up to $1500 a ton for bulk Sebago potatoes which is absolutely unheard of. [The] normal price is about 400," he told the ABC.

"Also Kipfler has been dire straits all year and they've reached $4000 a ton."

Chocolate also in short supply

Potatoes aren't the only food staple to be affected by wet weather, with news that we are facing a global chocolate shortage because of recent heavy rains in the Ivory Coast.
According to Reuters news agency, half of the cocoa beans coming from the Ivory Coast have not been meeting quality standards - with high acid levels and small bean size the main issues - as well as problems drying the beans because of the wet weather. 
This is expected to result in a 180,000 tonne global supply deficit of cocoa this year.

Bad news for bananas

The problems facing our favourite fruit are even bigger - a virulent disease is attacking Cavendish banana plantations around the world. The threat of Panama disease is so serious, it could mean the disappearance of the Cavendish, although scientists are working to find a cure

battle for the banana
We're facing a future without our favourite banana
Bananas are loved across the world, but the humble Cavendish is facing a grave future – and there’s no likely cure.