Floods open doors to more NZ pro­duce

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

East­ern Aus­tralia’s sop­ping wet sum­mer has set the scene for an ‘‘ex­plo­sion’’ of im­ported New Zealand pro­duce, ac­cord­ing to grow­ers on that side of the Tas­man.

Great swathes of Queens­land are un­der wa­ter and New South Wales and Vic­to­ria ex­pe­ri­enced a wet Novem­ber-De­cem­ber.

‘‘Cheaper New Zealand labour costs and a low ex­change rate al­ready give in­creas­ing vol­umes of fruit and veg­eta­bles a price ad­van­tage in Aus­tralian su­per­mar­kets but the big wet is ex­pected to lure in even more New Zealand pro­duce to take ad­van­tage of lo­cal sup­ply short­falls,’’ an Aus­tralian ru­ral news web­site, Far­mon­line, re­ported.

‘‘There’s no doubt Queens­land’s floods and the pre-Christ­mas wet weather in NSW and Vic­to­ria will be a beach­head op­por­tu­nity for New Zealand mar­keters to es­tab­lish an even stronger foot­ing here,’’ Av­o­ca­dos Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Antony Allen said.

Aus­tralian Food and Gro­cery Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Kate Car­nell said New Zealand had worked solidly to es­tab­lish its rep­u­ta­tion as a safe, fresh food gar­den for the Asia-Pa­cific. ‘‘I’d be amazed if they are not ramp­ing up ex­port plans to make sure they can help out where crop fail­ures are caus­ing in­ter­rup­tions to our sup­plies,’’ Ms Car­nell said.

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