Disease driving up tomato prices

The price of tomatoes has nearly doubled to more than $7 a kilogram. File photo/SunLive.

Tomatoes are a staple summer food but this year things are far more expensive.

The price is leaving a sour taste in plenty of people's mouths nearly doubling to more than $7 a kilogram.

With that price at the checkout lots of people are turning to grow your own but now even the plants are hard to come by.

Checkpoint went looking to see how much a few tomatoes would cost.

First up was Pak'n Save Royal Oak at $5.99/kg then Countdown Greenlane at $7.49.

United Fresh president Jerry Prendergast explains why it has become so expensive.

"With the pepino mosaic virus that's been plaguing the tomato industry since about May last year, that's really affected the crop quite significantly as we've gone into summer with many growers pulling out crops, getting back into their crop rotation, and sterilising their facilities.

"There just simply hasn't been as many tomatoes growing this year as we've seen in the past years."

Growers are facing many struggles due to the disease, Prendergast says.

"So any grower that's got that in their glasshouse or in their operation, they've gotta make some pretty swift decisions to pull their crop out and during that period they've gotta stand down period so there's no production going on for them, which is really affecting their yields, it's affecting their income."

The tomatoes that are grown on plants with the disease are okay to eat but pose a biosecurity risk for some overseas countries, so exports are down too.

As for when the price might drop down again he said it could be a lot longer.

"I wish I did have a crystal ball on this one. I haven't got an exact time frame - a whole growing cycle and the process can take a 12 months.

"We saw the start of this in May last year. If we were looking towards what that means in the future, I'd like to see things settle down as we go into winter."

-RNZ/Louise Ternouth.

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1 Comment

It's easy...

Posted on 28-01-2022 19:50 | By morepork

... don’t buy them and the price will come down. If there is a "shortage" but they are still exporting, it’s obvious where the priorities are.

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