Flooded SA farmers await financial aid

Belinda Tasker
Vege farmers in SA could be ruined unless governments help them cope with flood damage.

Hundreds of South Australian vege growers face going to the wall unless governments deliver multi-million dollars in aid to help their crops recover from flood damage.

An estimated 1000 hectares of crops on the Northern Adelaide Plains were flooded after the Gawler River broke its banks last week.

Farmers are estimated to be facing damage bills of about $30 million after their lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli and parsnip crops went under water.

Those with greenhouse crops of capsicums, tomatoes and cucumbers were also inundated.

AusVeg spokesman Jordan Brooke-Barnett said some growers could have to fork out up to $1 million to replace their damaged crops, but no money had been put on the table by the state or federal governments to help them.

"It's going to run some people out of the industry unless there's government assistance," he told AAP on Wednesday.

"Some have had their entire crops wiped out and others just a portion."

While the South Australian government has announced an independent inquiry into the storms and widespread power outages they caused last week, there has been no details about financial assistance for those in flood-affected areas.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the town of Virginia on the Northern Adelaide Plains on Monday and said South Australia had yet to request help under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) which would see the commonwealth contribute to any assistance offered by the state government.

Mr Brooke-Barnett said short-and-long-term financial relief packages, including concessional loans, were needed by farmers.

Across the border in NSW the state and federal governments last week announced financial relief under the NDRRA for 21 local government areas hit by floods since late August.

The NSW government has estimated the damage bill for flood-affected crops will be about $500 million.

In terms of flow-on effects to consumers, Mr Brooke-Barnett does not expect shoppers will have to pay higher prices for veges as a result of the floods.

"We don't expect major spikes because South Australian retailers can buy (produce) from interstate," he said.