Feb 09 2022

February Update

Tomatoes NZ Staffing News

I am leaving TomatoesNZ and Horticulture NZ on 18th February to take up a new role at GNS Science in Lower Hutt. It has been my privilege to represent Fresh Tomato Growers in Wellington for the past 11 years. I have made many friends in and around the industry and will miss working with you all. 

In early December TomatoesNZ Business Manager Karen Orr left for a secondment at Ministry of Primary Industries for a 12-month period. We wish her well in this temporary role. Dinah Cohen has joined the team to cover Karen’s absence and can be contacted on dinah.cohen@hortnz.co.nz .



Elly Nederhoff, the New Zealand based greenhouse energy specialist, has written a review of carbon emissions-reduction options from the Netherlands: “TECHNOLOGY SCAN Innovative technology for transition to a low-carbon greenhouse industry “. The report can be downloaded from our website Energy Efficiency page under “Hot topics”. The report was funded by EECA.


Decarbonisation funding for Greenhouses

EECA have an opportunity for small and medium sized Greenhouse Growers to apply for decarbonisation funding through their technology demonstration fund;  https://www.eeca.govt.nz/co-funding/technology-demonstration/   

Growers can access co-funding for up to 40% of the costs of an eligible project, up to $250,000 per project.

For example, up to 40% of the cost of a low emissions heat pump system to displace a fossil fuel boiler, or the addition of dehumidifying heat pumps to reduce heat loss from the glasshouse. Energy screens and biomass boilers do not qualify for this funding. 

We’ve been working closely with the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) on a plan to support reducing carbon emissions from the greenhouse vegetable industry, and EECA have made this fund available exclusively to greenhouse growers for a short time. 

To check if your project meets the funding criteria, get in touch with EECA, or email Dinah.


Update on export markets

Restrictions on NZ grown tomatoes being exported to The Cook Islands, Tonga and New Caledonia were lifted late last year.  No extra measures have been imposed for these markets. This is in addition to Japan, Hong Kong, Niue, and Samoa which re-opened earlier.  There are currently no exports to Australia.


Tomato prices

Tomato Prices are a frequent topic of media interest. The NZ average retail (loose round) fresh tomato price graph for the past four calendar years, produced from Statistics New Zealand Consumer Price Index data, shows that in February 2021 the prices stayed lower than usual at about $2.50Kg for longer; but by June had reached much higher than usual at over $11.00Kg, then climbing and staying at over $16.00Kg through August though to the end of September. Prices have stayed several $/Kg higher than usual right through to the end of November where they were still sitting at around $6.00Kg (the latest data available at time of print) compared to $3.40 Kg in 2020.

Prices graph for website 

A number of factors are contributing to low supply and high prices; Pepino Mosaic Virus having affected large areas in South Auckland; anticipation of the Australian export market remining closed in the short-term resulting in reduced plantings; dull spring weather; rising energy and covid-19 related business costs; and severe labour shortages.


Winter Import Stats for fresh/chilled Tomatoes:

From July-October 2021, 348.5 tonnes of fresh tomatoes were imported from Australia. This was up significantly from winter 2020 (72.2 tonnes) and 2019 (175 tonnes) but, as shown in the graph, below a 2018 peak of 523 tonnes.

Given the high New Zealand tomato prices during winter and spring 2021, we might have expected an even higher volume of Australian tomatoes. However, Covid-19 freight disruptions and Australian market conditions slowed the flow down.

Import chart for wesbite