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As the clean-up gets under way, industry experts believe consumers will immediately feel the monster storm's effects on their hip pocket as vegetable supply lines to supermarkets are interrupted. `we expect the damage to be quite large'

Bowen, one of the most heavily affected regions by the storm, is estimated to supply Australia with 95 percent of its tomatoes and capsicums over the winter months.

"Unfortunately there's no kind of insurance for these types of losses, so they're definitely going to go backwards," Queensland's Farmer's Federation spokesperson Ross Henry said.

"There's over a billion dollars' worth of agricultural production in that region, and it's just been hit with a category 4 cyclone, so we expect the damage to be quite large."

The price of sugar may also rise with much the region's sugarcane farms experiencing flooding from the estimated 400mm of rain dumped on Queensland's northern coast.

 "We do know that hundreds of hectares of sugarcane have been flattened by Cyclone Debbie's winds with the Mackay and Proserpine districts the worst affected," Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan said.

"Some of the cane will have been snapped or pulled up by the roots and some of it is underwater."

 It's estimated that Bowen's $160 million tomato crop will be the most heavily affected, and the most likely to see the sharpest increase in price.

"Tomato prices will probably go up to $9, $10 a kilo for good quality tomatoes," Home bush grocer David Tobey told

Experts say it isn't just the severity of Cyclone Debbie that's made the biggest impact on local farmers — it's the timing.

 "It's a really unfortunate time for the cyclone to hit," fruit and vegetable wholesaler Anthony Joseph told 9Finance.

"Farmers have spent weeks preparing their crops for the peak season over winter."

Sadly, it's not the first time North Queensland farmers have suffered at the hands of extreme weather events — in 2011, Cyclone Yasi sent the price of bananas through the roof, with consumers paying up to $15 a kilo.


This individual assignment requires students to answer the following four questions based on the above article. To support your answers, use suitably labeled diagrams (where appropriate).

  1. Assuming tomatoes are sold in a purely competitive market, discuss other major factors contributing to increase price of tomatoes in Australia. In your answer, include appropriately labelled demand and supply curves to explain the process of moving to the new equilibrium output and price.                                                                                                                              10 marks
  1. Explain the concept of the demand elasticity. Using appropriately labelled demand and supply curves, discuss the price elasticity of demand for tomatoes.                                                                                                                         10 marks
  1. Based on your answer in part b, illustrate hypothetically, what should be the effect of the rising price of tomatoes on the total revenue of the tomatoes wholesale market.                                                                                                                           10 marks

d. Considering the fact that many tomato farmers could abandon the industry, explain, the different strategies that government should adopt to sustain the long-term supply of tomatoes. Use graphs to support your answer. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the strategies you have mentioned.

                                                                                                                           10 marks

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