New Zealand floods likely to jeopardize local food supply and increase prices
All food producers in the North Island of New Zealand have suffered unprecedented damages from the recent cyclone, Gabrielle.
From kiwifruit, apples, and pears, to livestock, the extreme flooding and landslides caused by the historical event have stopped production throughout the biggest food supply region in the country.
This, in effect, is raising serious concerns about the local food supply which experts say could take years to get back to normal.
The problem is that some of the farms have been flooded up to eight times during this season, which entails further long-term damage to orchards.
Onions, squash, and maze have been washed away by up to 2-meter-high flood waters. The NZ Herald said that the industry is on its knees after the cyclone and that “It will take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to get “the heart’' of the Hawke’s Bay economy beating again.”
Onions are the main exported vegetable, they are worth $150 million a year. In the middle of the export season to Europe, NZ’s main onion market, this catastrophe will put a lot of pressure on this season’s export. Images have come out of onions laying on the side of the road in Aukland
Pictures of apples floating around in flood water are a hint to just how bad the damage may be. A big part of the crop was ready to be harvested and has been lost to the power of the cyclone.
Replanting just 1 hectare of apple orchards can take years, and at a cost of US$112,000 to $156,000.
Industry members are concerned that some growers may be unable to stay in business. With increasing production costs throughout the last year, considering this new disaster, it is likely that fertilizer and chemical costs will increase even more.
It is still too soon to know all the effects that this rough season will have on local producers and the country's food supply, but it will take time to recover.