Families brace for dearer food prices


ROCKHAMPTON mother Sandi Barrett hopes a predicted rise in the cost of basic foods does not eventuate.

Consumers were warned this week to brace themselves for the flow-on effect of a 60% fall in Australia's grain harvest.

The grain shortage has raised alarm bells with dairy, chicken, pig and beef producers, who all rely on grain as feed.

But Ms Barrett, who along with her fianc? supports 11- and 12-year-old sons, said she would understand if the cost of food went up.

"My father used to own a farm, so I know what it's like," she said.

"I've seen the cost of that feed (grain) and it's not cheap."

Mrs Barrett said her young family ate meat every night and went through about two litres of milk a day.

She said they might have to make sacrifices if prices went up.

"Maybe the extra snacks we get," she said.

Sandra Rowe, of Rockhampton, who shops for herself and her husband, said she might have to cut luxuries such as takeaway meals and going out on weekends.

"I just feel sorry for people with families," she said.

"You've still got to buy milk and bread for a healthy diet."

Agribusiness analyst Paul Jensz told ABC Radio that although many key grain businesses had cut costs and rationalised, it would not be enough to curtail the effect of the massive drop in grain volumes.

"Graincorp, for instance, will be the most impacted; it will have a negative profit of around minus $20 million for '07 in our estimates," he said.



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