New Zealand consumers are being told to expect more expensive fruit and vegetables in February, and less of them. A Countdown supermarket spokeswoman stated that supply was already down on what it was usually. According to Jerry Prendergast, president of industry group United Fresh, three weeks of heavy rain at the end of November and early December meant the usual planting cycle was interrupted, and this gap would be noticed soon in shops.
Director of Levin’s Woodhaven Gardens Jay Clarke said he could not have tractors on the fields after the rain because they would rip up the paddocks or get stuck. “We had three months of rain in a couple of weeks in late November and had immediate crop loss in December and this is being felt now,” Clarke said. “The team just couldn’t get on to the fields to cultivate and plant, so we missed a planting cycle for some leafy greens.”
Prices increased this season with tomatoes affected by the Pipeno virus meaning the crops were pulled out sooner and were smaller. Lettuces were negatively affected by too much rain.