11 Jan 2023

Growers warn of price spike after Cyclone Hale

9:28 pm on 11 January 2023
Assortment of  fresh fruits and vegetables

The prices of fruit and vegetable may increase once again, this time due to the effects of Cyclone Hale. Photo: 123RF

The price of fruit and vegetables could be set to spike because of the damage done to crops by Cyclone Hale.

Severe weather has been affecting Northland, Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa since Monday, as the cyclone reached New Zealand.

Farmers were advised by Civil Defence to move stock to shelter and higher ground, but crop farmers had fewer options.

Federated Farmers president for Gisborne and Wairoa, Toby Williams, said heavy rain could damage fruit trees, grapes and maize.

"The fruit will just explode and berry growers have been severely affected," he said.

He said with less produce available, customers could be paying more at the checkout.

"At a time when food prices are already high, the country doesn't need something like this."

Meat production should be unaffected, Williams said, but the region's locally grown fruit and vegetables will be limited.

Northland president for Federated Farmers Colin Hannah agreed.

"The maize crops up here, because of the earlier floods we've had, a lot of them have had to be planted two or three times, so the yield is going to be down substantially," Hannah said.

"It all takes time to cultivate, it all takes time to get the ground ready, it takes time to sow the seed - and the seed stock doesn't come cheap either."

There is only one slight silver lining: "At least the drought is now at least another 30 days or more away."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs