NZ: Grower’s thoughts on floriculture struggles

Locked-down flower growers in Auckland are having to turn their blooms to compost, and an Invercargill grower understands their pain. During last year’s Level 4 lockdown, Penny Campbell, of Otatara, did just that. It was her first year operating her small business, Blooming Heck, and unable to sell her flowers under lockdown restrictions, she chucked them. That experience meant she understood what her northern counterparts were facing at the moment.

Deemed non-essential, the industry was crying out to the Government to let growers find a safe way to sell their perishable wares, she said. "I hope something can be changed."

Ms Campbell mostly grew flowers for summer, so felt for the bigger businesses. "I feel sorry they are losing all their stock, and  it’s being turned to pretty compost." They could lose months worth of flowers, she said.

While flowers might be considered non-essential, she felt they brought a lot of joy to people. Her advice to those wanting to support businesses affected was to buy from them when possible, to pass the flowers on to brighten someone’s day. A member of the Floral Business Activator, Ms Campbell received an email from its founders, calling for support for those in the Auckland region who were under lockdown.

"Although flower farming is considered as part of New Zealand’s primary industries, flower farmers have been separated from other agriculture and horticultural businesses in their Covid-19 regulations," the message read. "Instead of cut flowers being regulated with other perishable crops they have been grouped with plant and nursery products and services. Even as dispensations have been granted to the plant nursery sector, cut flower growers have been ignored."

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