Wet weather pushes vegetable prices up 11 per cent




New Zealand food prices rose 1 per cent in March from February as wet weather pushed up vegetable prices 11 per cent.

Cauliflower (file picture).

Cauliflower (file picture).

Source: istock.com

Statistics NZ said that after adjusting for typical seasonal changes, vegetable prices increased 9.5 per cent in the month due to sharp rises in tomato, lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli prices.

"Vegetable crops have been affected by a run of storms in recent weeks - lower supply due to bad weather usually means higher prices," Statistics NZ consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh said.

"In February, we saw rising prices for lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower, due to a combination of humid weather and Cyclone Gita. As expected, that wet weather has affected vegetable prices in March too."

Tomatoes rose more than 60 per cent in March to $4.65 a kilo.

Lettuce prices were up 20 per cent in March to $2.94 per 500 gram head, while cauliflower rose 85 per cent to $8.35 a kilo.

Cabbage prices rose by more than $1 a kilo in March to $3.18 a kilo (up 50 per cent). Broccoli also increased more than $1 a kilo to $8.35 a kilo (up 20 per cent).

However, as usual for the time of year, apple prices fell - down 16 per cent to $2.70 a kilo. Fruit prices rose 0.2 per cent in March.

Overall, food prices were 1.4 per cent higher in March this year than March last year, the statistics agency said.

Vegetable prices were up 8.8 per cent over the year, while mutton, lamb and hogget prices jumped 14.1 per cent.

Prices for fish and other seafood were up 6.7 per cent, while oils and fats increased 12.2 per cent.

The food price index accounts for about 19 per cent of the consumers' price index, which is the Reserve Bank's mandated inflation target when setting interest rates.

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