An Auckland fruit and vegetable supplier says trade is the
worst it has ever been and he can only see prices rising if
the hot, dry weather continues.
Traders say lettuce, spinach and tomatoes have been hardest
to buy cheaply, and in some cases lettuce prices have shot up
by 20 or 30 per cent.
Many independent traders in Auckland frequent the fruit and
vegetable markets at Mt Wellington each morning to buy their
stock daily, and they say prices have been rising since
Ben Tong, 30, manager of Farmville Fruit and Vegetables in
Grey Lynn said the cost of lettuce had gone up 20 or 30 per
cent since the same time last year at the markets.
He said: "The summer has been tough but we thought it was
going to be worse. We have been short on baby spinach which
has been hard to get - and fancy lettuce."
Last year each lettuce at the Great North Road shop was $2
and this year it had gone up to $3.
Gos Patel, 47, has run the Mangere Bridge Fruit Suppliers in
Coronation Road for 16 years and he predicted prices would
rise even further in the hot weather.
He said: "This is the worst year of trading we've ever had.
I've never thrown so much stock away.
"Some vegetables which are supposed to last six days and are
only lasting three. We've resorted to keeping a lot of stuff
in fridges to keep it fresh.
"Customers keep saying everything is expensive but we have to
put up prices when prices are going up with our suppliers.
"It's been the hardest summer ever."
Wayne Fan, 34, has managed Fresh and Save in Porana Road,
Glenfield on the North Shore for six years and said lettuces
and tomatoes had been hardest to buy, and prices were about
10 per cent more expensive than last year.
He said fancy lettuce was hard to get, and he ran out of
stock for three weeks because lettuces are hard to grow in
hot conditions and they need a lot of water.
He explained the wholesale price of tomatoes had risen from
$2/kg to $3/kg, which had caused prices to rise as high as
$4/kg in the shop.
Leigh Catley, communications manager at Horticulture New
Zealand, added: "Not every summer is like this and drought is
not declared every year, and it's critical.
"It's a particularly hard time for green vegetables and
that's reflected in the amount of produce which is sent to
market and what the prices are when they hit the shops.
"It is all about supply and demand, and the less produce we
have then the higher the prices are going to be."
- By Melissa Hills of APNZ