Vegetable price hikes tipped in wake of Queensland floods

By Amelia Wade

Australian supermarkets and producers have already warned of shortages. Photo / APN
Australian supermarkets and producers have already warned of shortages. Photo / APN

The price of some vegetables is tipped to climb after Queensland floods in January wiped out crops.

Australian supermarkets and producers have already warned of shortages and higher prices after floods destroyed farms and orchards, especially around Bundaberg.

Horticulture New Zealand says it is monitoring the extent of the disruption of supplies to New Zealand.

Imported vegetables from Australia such as tomatoes, capsicums and courgettes usually arrive in New Zealand in April and May.

But Horticulture New Zealand said this year that might not happen, meaning supply shortages which would mean a jump in price.

However, Australian suppliers might be able to start meeting demands again in late winter, Horticulture NZ said.

The possible rise comes after Statistics New Zealand figures show food prices increased 1.9 per cent in January, the biggest monthly increase since July 2011.

Prices were 0.8 per cent higher than in January 2012.

Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said any time there was an extreme weather event, natural products were affected.

Fruit and vegetables rose 3.5 per cent, led by seasonally higher prices for mandarins, apples, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries and kiwifruit.

Poor weather during the kumara planting and harvesting seasons caused prices to rise 98 per cent in the January year, and a poor avocado crop saw prices rise 86 per cent.

Grocery prices rose 1.9 per cent and made the biggest contribution to the food price index's monthly gain.

Bank of New Zealand economist Doug Steel told Radio New Zealand he expected prices to keep rising until June.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said farmers have had to battle extreme weather and droughts in New Zealand in recent months and this has contributed to the increase.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 31 Oct 2014 17:02:08 Processing Time: 426ms