Nov 03 2021

November update

Supply of crop inputs – plan well in advance

We recommend all growers talk with their suppliers as soon as possible to plan for their raw materials requirements well in advance, taking a 9-12 month view.  Consider all the inputs you need for a successful crop - seeds, substrates, fertilisers, etc.

As an industry we rely on using good quality raw materials, many of which are imported.  Growers will be aware that there has been a steady increase in lead-times for supply of key greenhouse inputs over the past year.  Indications are this situation is likely to continue for the next year or two, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the supply chain and operations.

Availability of freight, both by sea and air, has been curtailed and costs have increased significantly.  Global shipping reliability is now at an all-time low and there has been a reduction in the number of services into New Zealand.   Both here and overseas, fuel and labour shortages are negatively impacting day to day business operations, and prices have increased as the freight market passes on the extra costs.   For example, shipping charges have more than tripled, and inland handling charges increased by more than two-fold, with shipping lead-times extending from 8-10 weeks previously to approximately 6 months now.


  • Forecast and forward plan the inputs you need for your crop life (at least 6 months in advance)
  • Talk with your suppliers to get their advice
  • Place forward orders to secure supply of key raw materials needed for the crop season.
  • Plan for varieties and other long-term requirements early.


Government consulting on emissions reduction plan

Public consultation on the Government’s discussion document “Transitioning to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future – discussion document for an emissions reduction plan” opened in mid-October and runs until 24th November 2021.  This will inform the first Emissions Reduction Plan, to be announced in May 2022. The emissions reduction plan will set the direction for climate action for the next 15 years, and will include policies and strategies for specific sectors, including transport, energy, and waste.  The government has committed to all greenhouse gases, other than biogenic methane, reaching net zero by 2050. The emissions reduction plan is one of the tools (Figure 1) that will be used to reach that goal.

The consultation document is available here:

TomatoesNZ plan to make a submission with Horticulture New Zealand and Vegetables NZ and we welcome your input.

Key areas for input include:

  • Emissions Trading Scheme price settings
  • Funding for research and technology development to lower emissions in greenhouse growing systems
  • Funding support for low-emission transition and energy efficiency improvements
  • Development of an energy strategy and pathway to manage fossil fuel reduction, access to affordable low-emissions energy and emission targets
  • How government can best support biofuel options development and supply.


Emissions Trading Scheme prices surge

In early October, we wrote a joint letter with Vegetables NZ to Hon James Shaw, Minister of Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment, expressing our concern on the impact the rapidly rising ETS unit price will have on New Zealand’s food security, and requesting a meeting.  

The ETS price has more than doubled this year hitting growers hard on the back of other rising costs.  In our letter we proposed the Government consider direct investment support for capital costs, such as long-term co-investment with industry, access to low-cost loans, and rebates on ETS expenditure.    


Pepino Mosaic Virus update

The presence of Pepino Mosiac Virus (PepMV) at a further South Auckland commercial tomato property was confirmed in September, taking the number of confirmed sites to five.  These sites are all still able to sell fruit.

We are working with MPI on a transition to long term management plan.  Projects include:

  • Crate hygiene – looking at potential to develop and implement a best practise hygiene standard for crates.
  • Irrigation water testing to detect PepMV – a proposed MPI-led science project developing a method to detect PepMV and other pathogens in greenhouses, similar to the way Covid-19 is detected in wastewater.
  • Impact assessment – for crops that have the virus in NZ
  • Mild Strain Inoculation (“Vaccine”)for PepMV - overseas this is one of the methods used to manage the virus. We are currently working through what regulatory process would be required to import the vaccine.
  • Nursery plant assurance – adoption of a virus hygiene plan for tomato and capsicum nurseries.
  • Slowing the spread – advice on keeping the virus out of greenhouses, removing the virus from an infected greenhouse, and preventing dispersal from infected greenhouses.
  • Surveillance & testing – we’re currently looking into providing growers with an industry-funded end of crop testing service.
  • Understanding and cataloguing the NZ variant
  • De-regulation - PepMV is currently a notifiable, unwanted organism.  De-regulation needs to be carefully considered as it has import (seed) and export (market access) implications that need to be weighed up carefully.
  • Export Market Access – export access to Japan has re-opened, and work is underway on re-opening the important Australia and Pacific Islands export markets.

We’ll keep you informed on these steps as they progress but if you have any questions or comments please get in touch with us.