Horticulture New Zealand are warning that a shortage of spring vegetables is likely, and this will affect prices.
“Our growers are telling us that rain has been plentiful since March. Significant hail storms have damaged some crops which will affect the quality and the quantity of vegetables”, said Chief executive Mike Chapman. “Consumers need to understand that lower than normal supplies impact on availability and cost. Growers want people to know they are doing all they can to supply fresh spring vegetables, but the weather is something they cannot control.”
We checked in with some local growers, to gauge just how tough the year has been.
Bharat Bhana, of Hira Bhana & Co, said it was the consistency of the wet weather that has been a real problem. “The plants just can’t dry out. We get rain, then hail, then more rain! Plants need heat for their growth and we’re not getting much of that.”
A difficult issue with crops that are in for months and months, such as onions, is not being able to see how they’re going. “We won’t know until December/January when we harvest, what damage if any, has been done to crops like onions,” notes Bharat.
Allan Fong, co-owner of The Fresh Grower said, “This has been the worst weather year I have experienced in my lifetime, and I’m pretty old! I’m looking forward to things in about three weeks time, when I hope all of this shocking weather has passed.”
Whilst leafy crops generally delight in a good dose of rain, the repetitive hail is causing significant damage. Allan adds, “A lot of the problem is that visually the end product won’t be looking as good as it normally would. Leaves may be bruised looking and a bit torn. Consumers are used to seeing perfect looking products on their shelves and may complain about the quality they are seeing.”
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