Reflections on the Rising Production Costs

We’d like to extend a big thankyou and shout out to all the efforts going in with the produce teams across the country. What an interesting game we get to play – every day is a fresh opportunity, a chance to do something different, and a brand new challenge.  Dynamic, we call it  – yesterdays fresh produce could be tomorrows’ waste and the difference between good and bad, happy and sad, or profit and loss.

We have been reflecting on our 46 years of growing produce here at Fieldco and the many changes experienced – never more so than in the last 3 years. On top of ever increasing environmental and social responsibilities, there are a few costs in particular that directly affect the produce industry globally and would be keeping food producers all over the country, awake at night.

I thought you may be interested in just a few of our findings:

  • Labour is up 35% in the last 5 years. (Remember our kumara are handpicked to preserve quality.)
  • Fuel has is up 154% in the last 18 months with no end in sight. Some larger tractors will consume $120hr in fuel alone – no electric options available here. (A fuel invoice we received end of June was 14% higher than the one we received 3 weeks prior ) – where is this heading? 
  • Fertiliser has increased by 56.52% in the last 12 months.
  • Freight per kg has increased 6.6% year on year.
  • new tractor priced recently at 40% higher than we had anticipated. 

Talking about high cost of food in the supermarkets, it is obvious we can’t lay all the blame at the retailers feet. Input costs everywhere are increasing incredibly fast and unfortunately that just means a higher price for us all to pay as consumers.  As costs rise, scarcity usually follows as producers look to more viable crop alternatives or simply go out of business altogether.

Kumara pricing recently has been quite a bumpy ride but the facts are, as with all Food & Beverage items, we will see increases to continue going forward. We are also very mindful of the true cost of sustainability. 

A very good point to remember and sometimes discuss with our friends, Almost everything we eat was grown by someone, somewhere on a farm.  

-Rick Simpkin | Director