CANBERRA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — Overlapping Australian strawberry seasons have caused the price of the berries to plummet to "ridiculous" levels in Australia, with punnets selling for the bargain basement price of 80 Australian cents (60 U.S cents) around the nation.
Supermarkets have been accused of "flooding" the market with strawberries thanks to an oversupply caused by a longer-than-usual season in Queensland and an earlier-than-expected start to the season in Western Australia.
Strawberries Australia President Sam Violi said Victoria's strawberry season was also due to begin next month, and said the price crash was an unfortunate thing of Australia having a number of different climates suitable for growing strawberries.
He said the "unusual" prices were not a result of poor quality fruit, so he encouraged fruit lovers to get out and snap up strawberries while they're cheap.
"We are having a clash of two states and a bit of an oversupply at the moment," Violi told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.
"As growers (in Queensland) pull out, there will be less supply in the market and the price will start to improve.
"From what I've seen around, (the strawberries) are looking very promising."
However, strawberry farmers aren't as happy as consumers, with grower Lillian McMartin blaming big supermarkets for undercutting farmers and selling strawberries for less than what it costs to produce each punnet.
"(Supermarkets) Coles and Woolworths and IGA control the market, " McMartin told Fairfax Media.
"(They) have ridiculous prices which are below our cost of production.
"If Coles and Woolworths are selling them for 60 U.S. cents, you can see farmers will lose money. The last three years it's been bad. It's getting worse."
A spokesperson from Woolworths refuted the claim and said it has "great relationships" with its farmers, while Coles said the plummeting price of punnets was due to the overlapping seasons.
"As the availability of strawberries fluctuates throughout the season so do prices to ensure supply and demand are matched in the market," a Coles spokesperson said