Mar 11 2024

March news

2024 seems to be flying past already, and I’m sure for most of you it’s been a busy start to the year! There is a lot going on in the next few months, so I thought I’d give you a quick run through of what to look out for.


Levy Renewal Process

If you pay levies to TomatoesNZ you should have seen communication about how the commodity levy order needs to be renewed next year. This is a long process which ends with growers voting on the rate in May/June this year. The final proposal is drawn up after grower consultation, which is about to begin! If you’re able to attend one of the Vegetable Research and Development workshops around the country, not only will you hear about some project updates (see below) but you will also be asked for your feedback on the TomatoesNZ levy proposal. While the TNZ board doesn’t intend to change the levy rate currently being collected, it’s important to have your say. Do you agree with the way your levy is spent by this product group? Do you think there should be different areas of focus? Should the current rate of 35c, paid per $100 of fresh tomatoes sold, be calculated differently? Any feedback can be sent directly to me and if you’d like, I can also send your feedback on to the board directors who work on your behalf. You can read more about it here 


Workshops in the regions – sign up

TomatoesNZ are holding a breakfast Q&A with Marc Groenewegen, Dutch tomato specialist and passionate grower. Marc enjoys sharing what he knows with growers all over the world and feels it is always an exchange as he learns from them as well. The details are:

Date: Thursday 28th March

Time 7.30m for breakfast until 9am

Venue: Seminar Room, 49 Cronin Road, Pukekohe

RSVP (including any questions that you already have for Marc) RSVP here


Tomatoes NZ growers are invited to hear about research into vegetables that has been happening recently at multiple centres around the country. Vegetables NZ and VR&I will be hosting these events with specific tomato research news also shared in Richmond Tuesday 19th March at 3pm, Pukekohe Wednesday 10th April at 3pm and Ashburton Tuesday 16th April at 3pm. Dates in other regions are also available and will concentrate on relaying Vegetables NZ and VR&I updates. For all the dates and to register for these events please use this link

Biosecurity projects

The TNZ board believes that working with Biosecurity NZ ahead of an unwanted organism entering New Zealand is very important as this will mean that in the unfortunate event of a pest being detected in a greenhouse, we have a plan already in place with how to deal with the situation. One example of this is Tuta absoluta – a pest that is already in many countries and can be devasting for tomato crops. We have worked with Biosecurity NZ to develop a plan should this pest ever be found in NZ. Have a look at page 45 - 51 of the NZ grower article here  to learn more about this work.


Funding still available for energy related projects

While the GIDI fund no longer exists, EECA do still have the Tech Demo fund available to growers who are looking to reduce their use of fossil fuels. Some examples of projects that have already been completed with help from this fund are dehumidification units, high-temperature heat pumps and an electric tractor. Generally speaking if your project qualifies, EECA could fund 50% of the costs to maximum of $250k, or $500k if decarbonising industrial process heat. More information, including how to contact EECA to see if your project would qualify, is available here:

We’re also lucky enough to have Ellery Peters, an energy engineer project manager, who is available to talk you through what options are available for your greenhouse business. This could include, if appropriate, visiting your greenhouse to conduct an energy assessment. Ellery’s work is funded through Vegetables NZ and EECA and we are able to offer his services to TomatoesNZ growers free of charge. Please get in touch with me or directly with Ellery:


Grocery Code of Conduct

Some of your will be aware that the Commerce Commission is overseeing the Grocery Code of Conduct which outlines various rules that retailers must follow when drawing up agreements with suppliers. TomatoesNZ is aware that for most growers, the reality is that they will have an agreement with a wholesaler rather than directly with a retailer, which this code does not yet cover. I am looking to provide the Commerce Commission with feedback into the problems that growers currently face with supply agreements with wholesalers, in the hope that the Grocery Code of Conduct can be extended to include this important area. Please email me by 31st March with any problems or experiences that you have had. I will be compiling grower feedback so that it can be submitted completely anonymously to the Commerce Commission