18 Jun 2010

More growers tipped to leave unless prices improve

7:31 am on 18 June 2010

Horticulture New Zealand is warning a new wave of growers will leave the industry if domestic fruit and vegetable prices don't improve.

Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables fell more than 2% in May - the 11th monthly drop in a year.

Horticulture NZ says growers are caught in a vicious price-cost squeeze.

Chief executive Peter Silcock says most growers are receiving less for their produce than they were five years ago and still have to absorb higher labour, fuel and production costs.

He says a lot of growers are in a very difficult situation and there has already been quite a significant reduction in their numbers.

Costs, regulatory requirements and requirements by supermarkets also continue to go up.

Mr Silcock says growers need to start demanding higher prices for their produce, so they receive a fairer return.