NZ: Food prices are up, but the cost to grow it has skyrocketed

Food prices were 7.6% higher in March 2022 compared to March 2021, Stats NZ says, but farmers say this does not reflect the price they are paying to grow what Kiwis are eating. Between March 2021 and March, 2022 grocery food prices increased 6.7% and monthly food prices rose 0.7% in March 2022 compared with February 2022, Stats NZ said last week.

It was reported earlier that Waikato potato and onion grower Chris Nicholson, director at Hinemoa Quality Producers, said his fuel bill had increased by about a third compared to this time last year. In March he had to increase the price of a bag of onions by $1 per bag and was very close to not breaking even if he did not get the farm gate price he wanted.

Data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment showed significant increases in commercial diesel costs. Minimum wage increases were only a drop in the bucket compared to many farm costs, but the shortage of skilled labor had been a political tug-of-war between farmers and the government for the past few months. There was some relief as the government was allowing more workers to enter New Zealand. 

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