04 Feb '11, 4am

Australian agriculture faces massive storm bill

SYDNEY: Flood-ravaged Australia was facing up to Aus$800 million in crop losses after a horror cyclone smashed through key banana and sugar farms, threatening inflation and exports, analysts said. The latest damage to the two key farming commodities brings the total crop losses in Queensland state, the heart of the nation's agriculture sector, to Aus$1.4 billion ($1.4 billion) due to natural disasters in the past six weeks. The state was still reeling from a record flood that wiped out an estimated Aus$600 million in winter crops and also reduced coal exports by up to Aus$2.5 billion, when Cyclone Yasi smashed into its far north Thursday. "This has pretty much capped it off by hitting the top half of the state when the bottom half is still trying to deal with floods," said Queensland Farmers' Federation chief Dan Galligan. Yasi, a category five storm, shredded canefields a...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific_bu...

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