Christmas strawberry shortage expected with crops 'annihilated' by poor weather

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 Dec 2021, 3:20PM
Crops in Auckland and Waikato have been left prone to disease. Photo / 123rf
Crops in Auckland and Waikato have been left prone to disease. Photo / 123rf

Christmas strawberry shortage expected with crops 'annihilated' by poor weather

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 Dec 2021, 3:20PM

Wet weather has decimated strawberry crops - meaning there could be a shortage for Christmas. 

Outdoor crops in Auckland and Waikato have been experiencing heavy rain and hot weather - leaving them prone to disease. 

United Fresh represents growers, exporters and retailers. 

President Jerry Prendergast said it's devastating for growers as it's the busiest time of the year. 

"Going into Christmas what we've seen is the weather conditions that occurred in October and then some significant heavy rain that came through only about six days ago, has absolutely annihilated the strawberry crops. 

"So, all of the strawberries are growing outdoors, they're really struggling with disease issues once that product has actually got waterlogged." 

Prendergast said growers plan to have large crops going into Christmas so some have lost 60 to 70 per cent of their crop. 

"Strawberry crops come in waves so there will be another harvest after Christmas but yeah for Christmas there could be a shortage on the shelves which could push up prices. 

"What are we are seeing as that new way of growing strawberries now there's a lot of growers starting to transition across to undercover crops. And of course, they weren't affected, fruit that was grown under cover is actually coming out in really good condition." 

- by RNZ