New Zealanders are being asked to buy local and fresh, to support vegetable growers across the country who have been hit hard by ongoing bad weather.
“Vegetable growers have endured exceptionally bad growing weather for several months now,” says Vegetables New Zealand Chair, John Murphy.
“Months of wet, humid and unpredictable weather have affected growers’ ability to plant and harvest, which has had a cumulative effect on supply.
“Most graphic have been the pictures of onions in drains in Pukekohe and on beaches and in drains in Hawkes Bay, plus the news that up to 90% of Northland’s kumara production has been wiped out by Cyclone Gabrielle.”
Mr Murphy said Cyclone Gabrielle had also affected vegetable growing in Tairawhiti Gisborne, where there have been floods and extensive damage.
“Then there have been the infrastructure issues, including water supply and restricted access, to and from Tairawhiti Gisborne.”
He described vegetable supply across New Zealand at a time when traditionally vegetables are in plentiful supply, as a “pretty dire situation”.
“Our growers’ plight is why we’re encouraging New Zealanders to continue to support local livelihoods by buying fresh, nutritious New Zealand grown vegetables, when they can. This support will be gratefully received by growers, quite a few of which are facing incredible uncertainty at the moment.”
“New Zealand’s food supply and security was first tested by Covid and now, it is being tested by successive adverse weather events. If we are to have a plentiful supply of fresh vegetables, we need vegetable growing in New Zealand to be sustainable. If it’s not, growers will leave the industry, which will reduce supply and increase prices. None of that is in our country’s best interests,” Mr Murphy said.