2 Feb 2012

New import rules tipped to hurt growers

12:33 pm on 2 February 2012

Horticulture New Zealand says another clamp-down on fruit and vegetable imports by an overseas market will hit struggling growers with extra costs.

Indonesia last month imposed new import requirements on all fresh produce, including reduced entry points and extra phytosanitary measures.

The Indonesian market's an important one for New Zealand exporters, in 2010 receiving $18 million worth of produce, mainly onions, apples and kiwifruit.

Hort NZ says the new restrictions have the potential to drastically reduce that.

Chief executive Peter Silcock says Malaysia, Russia, Thailand and Australia have also imposed new import restrictions over the past few years.

On top of that, he says growers are struggling after several seasons of marginal returns due to bad weather and more recently a high New Zealand dollar.

He says market access has become another concern for the industry.

New Zealand fruit and vegetable growers last year exported $2.5 billion worth of produce.