Toma­toes NZ Inc.

A new com­mod­ity levy was sup­ported in the ref­er­en­dum held last month with 87.5 per­cent by num­ber and 86.5 per­cent by value of those who voted.

NZ Grower - - Contents - HE­LEN BARNES Busi­ness Man­ager To­ma­toesNZ Inc.

Fresh tomato com­mod­ity levy sup­ported

The Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand and other veg­etable prod­uct group ref­er­en­dums were also suc­cess­ful. Many thanks if you were one of the 33 per­cent of fresh tomato grow­ers who cast a vote.

Next we will sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI), who will take our re­quest for the new levy to the min­is­ter for ap­proval. The new levy or­der is ex­pected to be in place from April next year.

Un­der the new levy or­der, the fresh tomato levy rate will ini­tially re­main the same at 0.35 per­cent. The new levy or­der will in­clude the ca­pac­ity for grow­ers to vote at an an­nual gen­eral meet­ing to raise the rate up to a max­i­mum of 0.50 per­cent.

Surge in ir­ra­di­ated Aus­tralian tomato im­ports

Low do­mes­tic sup­ply in early Au­gust along with low prices in Aus­tralia has seen a con­sid­er­able vol­ume of Aus­tralian ir­ra­di­ated toma­toes be­ing brought in. These must be iden­ti­fied as “ir­ra­di­ated” at point of sale, and al­though as there have been few im­ports in the last cou­ple of years, some re­tail­ers may have for­got­ten this re­quire­ment. We have asked MPI to in­ves­ti­gate sev­eral re­ports of fail­ure to com­ply.

Govern­ment con­sult­ing on car­bon emis­sions

The fo­cus on car­bon emis­sions has ramped up this year. With Emis­sions Trad­ing Scheme (ETS) costs ex­pected to con­tinue ris­ing, To­ma­toesNZ has been telling any­one who will lis­ten in­clud­ing The Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion, the Min­istry for the En­vi­ron­ment (MfE) and EECA about the chal­lenges faced by cov­ered crops grow­ers with heat­ing, in­clud­ing in­creas­ing ETS bills and a lack of vi­able al­ter­na­tives to coal and gas. This year we have al­ready con­trib­uted to sub­mis­sions on the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion’s low-emis­sions econ­omy in­quiry, and the Zero Car­bon Bill

Cur­rently the Govern­ment is con­sult­ing on changes to the ETS scheme with sub­mis­sions clos­ing on Septem­ber 21. The con­sul­ta­tion is on “im­prove­ments” to the ETS frame­work and there’s an­other con­sul­ta­tion re­lat­ing to forestry. We will be sub­mit­ting on the for­mer. The key ar­eas of con­sul­ta­tion are:

• A phase down of in­dus­trial al­lo­ca­tions, af­ter 2021. Fresh tomato, cap­sicum and cucumber grow­ers are cur­rently el­i­gi­ble for free NZ ETS units, which off­set some of the ETS cost for in­dus­tries that can­not re­coup those costs from con­sumers and whose in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors do not face car­bon costs ; i.e. they are con­sid­ered to be emis­sions in­ten­sive and trade-ex­posed in­dus­tries. The Govern­ment is seek­ing com­ment on be­gin­ning a phase down of the al­lo­ca­tions scheme with the likely phase down rate one to three per­cent per year.

• A new “price ceil­ing”. Cur­rently there is a $25 per unit “fixed price op­tion” for NZ ETS units. This ef­fec­tively lim­its the max­i­mum price of NZ units, be­cause any­one can buy units from the Govern­ment for $25. The pro­posal is to re­place that with a cost con­tain­ment re­serve (CCR), where units held in re­serve are auc­tioned (as part of a new auc­tion­ing sys­tem) once the price ceil­ing is reached. The Govern­ment ex­pects the price ceil­ing would ini­tially be $25 ris­ing over time.

• A new auc­tion­ing sys­tem for NZ ETS units is to be im­ple­mented, and the Govern­ment is seek­ing feed­back on its fea­tures. It is pro­posed that all NZ Emis­sions Trad­ing Reg­is­ter ac­count hold­ers will be el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in auc­tions – if you have ever ap­plied for the free NZ ETS units for your tomato pro­duc­tion this will in­clude you.

• Cur­rently there is no trad­ing of in­ter­na­tional units within the NZ ETS. In the fu­ture in­ter­na­tional units could again be made avail­able to NZ ETS par­tic­i­pants, with lim­its. Those lim­its are be­ing con­sulted on.

• A new an­nual process for set­ting NZ ETS unit sup­ply vol­umes over a fiveyear rolling pe­riod. There will be a cap on the sup­ply of units, and the Govern­ment wants to know what fac­tors should be con­sid­ered when set­ting vol­ume lim­its.

• Feed­back is also be­ing sought on some as­pects of gov­er­nance and in­for­ma­tion pro­vi­sion, com­pli­ance and penal­ties.

En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA) hear­ing for Luna

In early Au­gust we pre­sented our sub­mis­sion in sup­port of Bayer’s ap­pli­ca­tion for re­assess­ment of the fungi­cide Luna Priv­i­lege to al­low on­la­bel use for botry­tis in green­houses. This prod­uct is ex­ten­sively used in green­houses in Europe. We are await­ing the EPA’s de­ci­sion. To­ma­toesNZ board vis­its Plant & Food Re­search Hawke’s Bay

Dr Jim Walker’s ad­vice to “use the most se­lec­tive and soft­est prod­uct against your worst pest” res­onated with To­ma­toesNZ board mem­bers dur­ing a visit to Plant & Food Re­search’s Have­lock North Re­search Cen­tre. As part of their Au­gust meet­ing the board met with Dr. Walker, who pro­vided a tour of the fa­cil­ity and an over­view of the ap­ple in­dus­try’s in­vest­ment in longterm sus­tain­abil­ity.

His extensive knowl­edge from over 30 years in the in­dus­try was not lost on the board. He spoke about the Ap­ple Fu­tures pro­gramme which be­gan in 2007 to tar­get low-residue pre­mium fruit for in­ter­na­tional markets. The extensive work done un­der this pro­gramme in­cludes crop pro­tec­tion, with the ap­ple in­dus­try re­duc­ing the num­ber of pes­ti­cide ap­pli­ca­tions and elim­i­nat­ing organophos­phates with a softer pro­gramme in place now.

For long-term sus­tain­abil­ity bi­o­log­i­cals are im­por­tant in pest man­age­ment, along with tools such as mat­ing dis­rup­tion. Sex pheromones are used to dis­rupt com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween in­sects and sci­en­tists at Plant & Food Re­search de­vel­oped the aptly named “4play” to sup­press mat­ing in codling moth and three leafrol­ler species. In ad­di­tion to the pheromone use in ap­ple or­chards, a ster­ile codling moth pi­lot pro­gramme in Hawke’s Bay is pro­gress­ing well.

Get­ting rid of sprays and us­ing mat­ing dis­rup­tion was Dr Walker’s sug­ges­tion to the board. He re­counted the story of a codling moth par­a­site that was re­leased by ap­ple grow­ers in the 1920s but was be­lieved not to have suc­cess­fully es­tab­lished be­cause it was not seen since. How­ever it was re­dis­cov­ered in NZ a few years ago. He puts this down to the re­cent de­creas­ing in­sec­ti­cide use al­low­ing ben­e­fi­cial preda­tor pop­u­la­tions to grow. It was noted that most of the preda­tors used in the ap­ple in­dus­try are spe­cial­ists, pre­dat­ing just one pest species each, rather than polyphagous gen­er­al­ists.

When asked if the fresh tomato in­dus­try could fol­low in the ap­ple in­dus­try’s foot­steps, Dr. Walker thought it would be a chal­lenge given the en­closed green­house en­vi­ron­ments that re­quired clean­ing out each year and there­fore re­moval of the estab­lish­ing bio­con­trol agent pop­u­la­tions.

▴ The To­ma­toesNZ board at Plant & Food Re­search.

▴ The To­ma­toesNZ board with Dr Jim Walker at ta­ble.

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