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As Australia is facing a potato shortage, prices rise.

Australia is currently experiencing a potato shortage (Courtesy: @PaulyVella)

Australian customers should be prepared to pay more for their roast spuds, hot chips (French Fries) 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.

Shaun Lindhe:

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

Shaun Lindhe:

"It's harder to brush dirt off a potato if it's wet because it turns to mud."

"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.

Shaun Lindhe:

"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."

"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.

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."

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