Oswald costs NSW macadamia growers $20m in damages
EX-TROPICAL cyclone Oswald has wiped out about 20% of the Northern Rivers' macadamia crop and delivered farmers a $7.2 million clean-up bill on the cusp of harvest, the Australian Macadamia Society has warned.
The damage from the storm hit about 60% of the region's growers and 80% of the region's macadamia orchards and has lef growers crying out for disaster assistance as they prepare for harvest.
Society chief executive officer Jolyon Burnett said Northern Rivers farmers wanted the same assistance that had already been given to macadamia growers over the border.
"Queensland macadamia growers last week welcomed 'Category C' relief assistance which has proved vital for our growers as they prepare for harvest, and our NSW growers need the same," he said.
The Category C assistance would deliver grants of up to $15,000 to help farmers with the clean-up.
The part of the crop already lost would cost the local industry about $13 million, bringing the total bill of damage and loss to more than $20 million.
Mr Burnett said the society had already begun urging local state and Federal MPs to help lobby their governments and had provided detailed information to bureaucrats.
"It is vital that this assistance happens right now, not in two or four weeks time," he said.
"Every day is crucial during harvest time. Growers need assistance to clean up before they can start harvesting. And the longer they wait for assistance, the harder it becomes to complete harvest.
"We've been inundated with hundreds of phone calls and emails from our members who have been severely affected. We are doing everything we can to enable growers to get on with harvesting."