The agriculture sector of the state of Queensland in Northeast Australia is estimated to have lost more than $1 billion in damages as a result of severe flooding that is expected to continue for several more weeks, according to published reports.
One-fifth of 2010's sugarcane harvest has been abandoned and the early stages for 2011 season crops have been submerged by the catastrophic rains. As much as 50 percent of the state's wheat crop has been destroyed in the globe's fourth-largest exporter of the commodity.
"Given the scale and size of this disaster, and the prospect that we will see waters sitting potentially for a couple of weeks, we will continue to have major issues to deal with throughout January," Queensland premier Anna Bligh said on local radio late Monday.
Australia's government has intervened while the United States and New Zealand also have offered assistance and aid with relief efforts.
Queensland will "need to buy more raw sugar from rivals Brazil and Thailand to meet sales commitments because of drenched canefields," according to Canegrowers, an industry group.