Kumara prices kept high to ensure supply at Christmas

Kumara growers are hinting that prices may lower at some point very soon.

Prices have risen to between $8 and $10 a kilogram after a bad weather conditions through summer and autumn.

But Anthony Blundell from Kaipara Kumara says he doesn't think prices will go much higher.

"We might be able to offer some relief in pricing if we're able to have the stock to be able to do so."

Mr Blundell says this situation is a one-in-20-year event.

After a cool summer and wet autumn, kumara harvests have dropped by around 30 percent.

"Some of those growers instead of using the normal conventional harvesters had to actually plough the kumara plot out of the ground, and then have people go along with buckets and pick them out of the soil - or the mud, I should say."

Mr Blundell says consumers will have to pay the price to ensure there's a bounty of kumara at Christmas.

"This means we have to set pricing so we don't oversell and run out of kumara in October - hence that's why you're seeing the higher prices."

Mr Blundell says the demand for kumara has risen significantly over the last 20 years.

Last week, Statistics NZ said fruit and vege prices overall had increased 9.3 percent from this time last year.

"Lettuce and broccoli prices were down, but tomato and kumara prices continued to rise. Kumara prices were at their highest-ever level," said consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh.