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Cost of produce expected to rise further post-cyclone

New Zealanders should be 'flexible' in fruit and veg choices

The already high prices New Zealanders pay for fruit and vegetables could be about to go even higher on the back of Cyclone Gabrielle. Some prices have doubled since the cyclone struck. Local Auckland grocers say sweet potatoes (kumara) - which was $4.50/kg - is now at least $9/kg, while a single broccoli head is $5.99. Retailers are also expecting potato and onion prices to go up significantly too.

Jerry Prendergast, president of United Fresh, an industry group representing fresh fruit and veg suppliers, said supply and demand has always dictated prices, and always will. He said prices over the next year were likely to be "unstable", with "so much unknown" about how crops would fare in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle. Northland grows most of the country's sweet potatoes, for example, and 90% of it was wiped out in the storm.

"Imports usually are a costly way to bring in a vegetable commodity. We would of course import a lot of fruit - bananas, pineapples, for example, grapes from overseas, even citrus on a regular basis - however, when it comes to vegetables, they are very costly to ship in terms of transport.”

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has visited Hawke's Bay, which was severely impacted by the cyclone. He stated: "Obviously, there's clearly quite a lot that is completely written off. Some are still being assessed as to whether they can be harvested and of course, it may be more expensive to harvest what's left.”


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