Australian retailers have launched fundraising campaigns to raise money for growers affected by Cyclone Debbie.
The tropical cyclone tore through key growing regions in Queensland and New South Wales, before drenching New Zealand over the last weeks.
An estimated A$100m of damage to winter crops grown in Queensland’s Bowen region were destroyed with many growers still assessing the damage done by winds up more than 250km per hour, storms and subsequent flooding.
Coles has donated A$100,000 to the Red Cross and is providing A$150,000 in grants to affected growers, and has also launched an national fundraising campaign, with customers able to donate money to Red Cross at more than 700 supermarkets across the country.
Aussie Farmers Direct has announced it will donate A$2 from every ‘Family Fruit & Veg Box’ sold and A$1 from every sale of its ‘Seasonal Veg Box’ to growers in Queensland.
The Queensland government has donated A$1m to four charities to deliver urgent services and support for communities affected by Cyclone Debbie, and has urged companies to donate to already established charities, such as the Australia Red Cross Society, the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society of Queensland and Uniting Care Community, rather than setting up separate appeals.
James Whiteside, CEO of industry body Ausveg, has called on federal and state governments to do more to assist affected growers.
“As the full extent of Tropical Cyclone Debbie's impact continues to be assessed, we urge the state and federal governments to ensure that all affected communities, including our growers, receive the highest level of assistance possible,” Whiteside said.
“This support will be invaluable during the clean-up stage and will provide welcome relief to our growers as they start to rebuild their lives after this devastating storm. It could mean the difference between growers going out of business or rebuilding and continuing their vital role in feeding our nation.”