Willow shortage causing affordability issues
Flooding in Queensland saw a banana shortage forcing the price of fruit to sky high levels in 2011, but Australia reportedly faces a flood-induced shortage and affordability problem of another kind through 2015 and beyond...in cricket bats. Reports the ABC:
"Australia could face a shortage of affordable cricket bats in years to come as Indian producers predict a huge shortfall in supply following the destruction of Kashmir willow stockpiles in recent floods."
The flooding is expected to cause significant damage to industry production in India leading to a shortage of millions of cricket bats in the coming years:
"Willow suppliers in Kashmir are still assessing the damage, but some estimated the loss of wood, and damage to trees could equate to a shortfall of millions of cricket bats in coming years.
All India Sports Goods Manufacturing Association chairman Rakesh Mahajan said it was predominantly export supplies that were affected.
"Australia is very big buyer from India, England is also, South Africa and all the cricket playing countries are importing from here," Mr Mahajan said.
While some cut wood was damaged, existing trees may also be unusable after being submerged in water for days."
"Top of the range bats will not be affected"
Top of the range bats, notes the ABC, will not be affected. However, prices of the common affordable Kashmir willow, for which there is no equivalent substitute, are likely to be pushed materially higher. With willow trees taking 10 to 15 years to grow, the shortage could last for years to come.
The top-of-the-line bats are made using high-quality willow imported from England, but the majority are made using Kashmiri willow which is significantly cheaper.
"The common man or the students or school-going boys, they can buy easily this Kashmir willow bat. It is affordable, everybody can afford this," Mr Mahajan said.
He said there was no equivalent substitute for Kashmir willow, and he may resort to purchasing more wood from England which would push up prices.
Each willow tree takes 10 to 15 years to grow, and while suppliers have one or two years' worth of wood in stock, Mr Mahajan said the impact would be felt when those stores run out and the shortfall could last for a long time to come."
Might have to keep my trusty English willow going for another summer season or two...