The severe weather events that have hit Australia in recent years have flooded the Lee Etherington farm five times, causing huge losses of $500,000. The farmer has been working on his farm in Hawkesbury, New South Wales, for nearly two decades. There he grows 1,600 finger lemons and other native plants, which he uses as raw materials for his Wild Hibiscus Distilling Co.
“It’s been exceptionally tough this year,” he told me. “There was a double flood in March that wiped out the first two weeks of March, and the second biggest flood in 40 years hit in July. We have seven different lemons for fingers and there are pinks we use in our gin. and green. But the pink lime ripens at once and must be plucked in a few weeks – and this coincided with a double flood.”
The farmer has been struggling in recent years: Every time he overflows, he tells me he’s losing between $100,000 and $150,000 (€65,97,000) in lost production and they won’t be able to work for a while.
In 2019, a large fire broke out near his cultivated area. The fire came 600 meters from his orchards.
When Covid hit, the export side of his business was scrapped overnight. Last year he lost 30-40 percent of the crop, resulting in a loss of $50,000.
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