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Flower dumping is threatening New Zealand's rose growers

  • Flower dumping is threatening New Zealand's rose growers

    by Market Insider

    Tuesday, 22 Sep. 2015

    Millions of cheap roses from India are being potentially dumped on the New Zealand market, threatening the viability of local growers, the New Zealand Flower Growers Association (NZFGA) says.

    New Zealand flower growers are investigating whether millions of imported roses from India are being dumped in New Zealand and under-cutting the industry.
    Dumping is regarded as the selling of imported goods at a price below the cost of production.

    Flower Association immediate past President David Blewden said $3.3 million roses were imported from India last year, at a cost of 24 cents a stem. In contrast, New Zealand grown roses are typically $1.30 a rose stem in winter, and 50 cents in summer. “Local growers can’t compete with those prices,” Mr Blewden said.

    He said the Indian Government was subsidising some flower growers and the association was looking into what impact that could have in New Zealand as a result.

    "We are aware that the national government in India has identified floriculture as a future potential economic driver for their economy and is keen to see that sector grow," Mr Blewden said. "We've heard farmers who chose to cultivate Dutch roses, they can receive up to a 50 percent subsidy from the central government and a further 20 percent subsidy from their state government to build their infrastructure, buy their planting material and also their fertilisers."

    Mr Blewden said the association was gathering data to see whether action could be taken under the Dumping and Countervailing Duties Act.

    "The association is attempting to determine just what degree these roses that are coming to New Zealand are subsidised and if it is shown to be a significant proportion, or that the subsides are allowing them to be landed in New Zealand at what are very lows prices per stem, then we will be taking a case to the government."

    Mr Blewden said flower growers were also concerned about the biosecurity risks associated with imported flowers. The massive number of rose and flower imports, and the lax biosecurity inspections and treatment offshore where the plant health certificates are generated, mean a major biosecurity breach in New Zealand is nearly inevitable.

    He said it’s not only exporters who are at fault. A New Zealand-based importer has also been fined recently for importing cut flowers after deliberating falsifying biosecurity documentation.

    “A biosecurity breach won’t only affect flower growers but it could devastate many sectors of our NZD2.4 billion horticulture industry, and potentially be detrimental to native flora.”

    Support from florists

    Florist Melissa Cullen, of La Fleure, in Masterton, said regardless of the threat to the New Zealand rose industry most florists tended to support local growers. "When it comes to quality, we've found New Zealand-grown to be superior," she said. "And we are more about quality than having an inferior product at a cheaper price. She said that as a Wairarapa business La Fleure was glad to support growers, and that they understood the importance of buying New Zealand-grown product.

    "The only import that we've tried is the Colombian roses which are a nice quality - they're the only ones that we've found to be OK, but we still prefer to support New Zealand."

    Selena Watt, from Watt's Blooming, agreed and said that Colombian roses were much bigger than New Zealand's but that they were also more expensive.

    Last year, more than 300,000 roses were imported from Colombia.
    "I think probably price determines most things with people these days, especially with the way the economy is," she said.

    The business manager of Van Lier Nurseries, Joanne Hurley, said she felt New Zealand's rose industry was under threat. "I started in the business eight years ago and slowly but surely rose growers are exiting the market," she said.

    Sources:  Radio NZ News + Scoop Medi + nzherald.co.nz

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