6 Jun 2013

Vegetable processors turn to local suppliers

9:31 am on 6 June 2013

The New Zealand vegetable industry is cashing in on Australia's higher production costs.

Processors such as Watties are now sourcing more of their crops from New Zealand.

John Brent, chair of Australian vegetable and potato growers organisation Ausveg, acknowledges that higher costs have pushed production out of Australia.

He told the ABC that water costs have tripled and electricity costs have nearly tripled with carbon tax adding 10 - 11% to electricity bills.

"If we want a future manufacturing industry in Queensland or Australia these things need to be reviewed and understood."

Vegetables New Zealand chairperson Keith Vallabh attended the Ausveg conference on the Gold Coast this week and says local growers are welcoming the move back to New Zealand.

He says New Zealanders are lucky the Heinz Watties factory has been kept up to date and modernised.

Mr Vallabh says production has returned for things like beetroot and carrots, and crops are again being grown the regions where they were originally.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand livestock genetics company is seeing demand for its sheep growing in Australia.

Focus Genetics has just airfreighted another 100 of its Primera and Highlander rams across the Tasman, the third shipment in the past year.

The company says the two composite sheep breeds are now well established here and in Britain and it's boosting the numbers in Australia as well.