Aug 05 2020

July-Aug 2020 update

Tomato Red Spider Mite

At the end of May, Biosecurity New Zealand (the Ministry for Primary Industries) found two small populations of tomato red spider mite (Tetranychus evansi) on nightshade weeds at two Auckland locations during routine surveillance. Industries potentially affected by this pest include tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes, and arable beet crops. It has a wide range of non-crop hosts.

The response partners (industry and MPI) have initiated a response. At this stage the response will consist of a delimiting survey to try and understand how far the mite has spread. A technical working group of mite specialists and entomologists has been assembled and they are developing recommendations on the survey design and timing, and will look at control tools.   

We have some information available about the mite in a downloadable “Exotic Pest Fact Sheet on Tomate Red Spider Mite ” and we will keep the website updated as the response progresses.

Helen talked about the mite and the response process with Radio NZ in late June.

Energy and Emissions Trading Scheme

With recent sharp rises in the ETS unit price, there has been a lot of interest in the impact and options for growers who are currently reliant on fossil fuels for heating their boilers.  

TomatoesNZ has met with several government agencies to raise the profile of our industry, explain our challenges, and explore what government support could be provided for growers impacted by the recent price rises.

This includes meeting with NZ Green Investment Finance; the Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment Energy Transitions team; The Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA); and MPI Investment Services.   We have also had meetings with energy consultants, and boiler and biomass suppliers who have offered information and opportunities to work together.  We will bring this information together and develop a path forward for the industry.

Helen has also been involved with a couple of media enquiries to help get our story heard and call for support, including an article in Energy News on 25th June,  on Radio NZ (11th June) and TVNZ (9th July).

Covered crop grower survey

One thing that has become to very clear as we talk about energy options for growers, is there is not a one size that fits all.   The location, heat source, age of equipment and size all play a part, as does a grower’s ability to manage change. Given this, we have recently sent out a survey to all covered crop growers to gather some baseline data on growers’ current heating requirements and capacity.  We are also seeking feedback on growers' interest and capacity to implement alternative options.  

This will provide valuable information to support our requests for government support, and help shape a project to support growers to transition to low-emission options.

Projects we are considering include energy audits; investigative and feasibility studies; various case studies on available options; and providing support from technical consultants.  

2020 AGM

The TomatoesNZ 2020 Annual General Meeting will be held at 3pm on 25th September 2020, along with the HortNZ and Vegetables NZ AGMs.  It is being held at the Pukekohe Indian Centre.  

During the afternoon there will be a speaker panel on the theme “The sustainable grower – where’s the value?”  The panellists will present from four perspectives:

  • Grower/producer perspective
  • Science and innovation perspective
  • Retail/Consumer perspective
  • Export perspective

The expected schedule for the afternoon is:

12.00pm              Lunch available

12.30pm              Horticulture New Zealand AGM

1.30pm                NZGAP Annual Meeting

2.00pm                Speaker Panel - Theme: The sustainable grower – where’s the value?

3.00pm                TomatoesNZ AGM / Onions New Zealand AGM

3.45pm                Vegetables NZ AGM

4.30pm                Drinks and nibbles

5.30pm                Close  


All members will have received an invitation to the AGM event. It is free to attend.  This year there will be the opportunity to either attend in person or join via video conference using zoom meetings. If you need further details on this please contact us.

SFF Traceability Project - Industry Consultation on Draft Traceability Guidelines

United Fresh have recently developed Draft Traceability Guidelines that have evolved from a Sustainable Farming Fund Project “Effective Produce Traceability Systems”, managed by United Fresh.
The Draft Guidelines are a consultation document. 
By adopting the Guidelines, the Project Team believes that the New Zealand fresh produce industry will be able to significantly improve its Interoperability, i.e. the ability to achieve a robust and accurate External Traceability System, that covers the entire fresh produce supply chain, and not just individual companies.

The Draft Guidelines can be downloaded from their website.

They are keen to gather grower feedback - this can be done by: 
completing the online survey, link here 
share your thoughts with United Fresh by email (
call Anne-Marie Arts, United Fresh Technical Advisory Group on 027 279 5550 to discuss