Horticulture New Zealand calls on Government to reduce 'spiralling' cost of vegetables

Vegetable prices are soaring.
Vegetable prices are soaring. Photo credit: Getty Images

At a time when our immune system needs all the nutrients it can get, vegetable prices are soaring.

Horticulture New Zealand warns we are facing a vegetable crisis with spiralling production costs causing prices to increase and suppliers to shut down.

"There is a crisis developing in commercial vegetable production in New Zealand," president Barry O'Neal says in a statement.

"Input costs have soared over the past 12 months, not the least being the cost of fuel."

Between December 2021 and March 2022, the cost of diesel increased from $1.67 a litre to $2.41 a litre, O'Neal notes, and there have also been significant cost increases for labour, seeds, fertilizer, freight and compliance. He warns all of this is putting growers in danger of going out of business.

"Unless consumers are prepared to pay for the increased costs of growing vegetables, we will see an exodus from growing vegetables in New Zealand," he says.

And if growers shut up shop, vegetable prices will increase further due to supply shortages.

"This will mean that vegetables - a healthy, staple food - could be priced off the table for many New Zealand households," O'Neal says.

O'Neal is calling on the Government to safeguard food security by reducing the growing costs of vegetables so Kiwis can afford to continue to eat nutritious vegetables.

"Ultimately our health system - under immense pressure from COVID - would benefit from any cost reduction because it will enable all New Zealanders to continue eating nutritious vegetables, safeguarding their health and wellbeing."