In 2015, Tomatoes New Zealand has 149 registered members growing fresh tomatoes, with a farm gate value of around $100 million.
New Zealand growers exported 3,366 metric tonnes of fresh tomatoes to 18 mainly Asian and Pacific Rim countries in the 2015 calendar year. Exports comprise around 8-9%, of the industry value each year, bringing in around $8-10m.
The main export season runs from October to the end of March. Australia has traditionally been the main export destination; however the volume to that market has been decreasing, while volumes to Japan have increased in the past five years and in 2014 matched Australian volumes.
Fresh Tomatoes can presently only be imported from Australia. Those imports must be grown under a compliance programme that seeks to reduce the likelihood of those tomatoes carrying fruit fly eggs, larvae or flies, and must all be irradiated. The Tomatoes when sold in New Zealand must be labelled as “Irradiated”.
This trade commenced in 2013, after an almost two year break in tomato imports due to the banning of dimethoate, the previous treatment required for fruit flies.
The import season usually runs from June to October. Details of fresh tomato imports to 2015 can be found by clicking here Tomato-Imports-2015.
There were few fresh tomato imports from Australia in 2016, with only one third the volume of winter 2015 coming in. It seems that NZ growers have shifted their production schedules to better meet the domestic winter demand, which has closed some of the importers’ window. There was also a crop shortage in Australia after a storm destroyed much of the outdoor crop.
The latest Statistics New Zealand Household Economic Survey figures show New Zealand households spent $118.7 on tomatoes in the year to June 2013.
Statistics New Zealand have published some information about tomato seasonal price and supply fluctuations, in this article: