A group of vegetable growers centred on Pukekohe in South Auckland say regulatory changes could be do-or-die for their growing enterprises.
Lettuces is now priced an average of $1.81 a head, says Statistics New Zealand. They were down 30% for the year.
“Prices reached an all-time high of $5.42 for a 500g head of lettuce in July 2018 due to poor weather. But since then we’ve had two major price falls, which meant lettuce prices reached an unseasonably low level this September,” consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba said.
While lettuce averaged $1.81 a head in September 2018, at the same time last year the price was about 80 cents a head higher, at $2.59.
Vegetable prices fell 8.7% in September, influenced by lower prices for lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. However, meat and poultry prices rose 2%, influenced by higher prices for beef and chicken.
Overall, food prices were almost unchanged in September 2018 (down 0.1%), but showed a slight rise after seasonal adjustment (up 0.3%).
In the year ended September 2018, food prices were also relatively unchanged (up 0.1%). This was driven by higher prices for ready-to-eat food (up 3.5%), and milk, cheese and eggs (up 2.2%). Prices decreased for vegetables (down 8.9%) and fruit (down 3.6%), which helped keep overall food inflation low for the year.
“After the poor weather and a reduced harvest in 2017, vegetable prices have returned to more typical levels for this time of year,” Du