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COVID-19 Under Level 3
Where to from here
It appears we are finally moving from level 4 to level 3 early next week. I say ‘appear’ because if a spike in COVID-19 cases occurs before we move to level 3, the decision may be reversed. Even when we move to level 3 it appears that many independent fruit and vegetable shops still won’t be allowed to reopen normally. Alert Level 3 commences Tuesday 28th April, when retail stores including takeaways and independent fruit and vegetable shops will be allowed to sell goods for contactless pickup and delivery, but customers are still not allowed to enter stores.
What will prices be like in the next 4-5 months for produce like tomatoes and cucumbers? This is crystal ball gazing but that is the case every year. With COVID-19 hanging around our necks it makes predicating prices even harder but if growers don’t look after crops now how will that effect production then supply and demand especially during July and August? Market gardeners face similar challenges, decisions around whether or not to plant winter crops or dig them into the ground need to be made. So, in my opinion, despite all the negativity and low business confidence, I think for growers whose businesses make it, there may just be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Crops that are sitting in the ground and don’t need to harvested until lockdown is lifted may flood the market, so I expect potatoes to nose dive, so please order French fries in the drive through, I will be ordering double!!
I imagine not all greenhouse growers have kept up crop maintenance and applied the necessary inputs needed in the last 4 weeks to achieve maximum production in the winter. There is a tendency when prices crash for immediate cost cutting. Heating the biggest casualty, followed by lowering fertiliser input and less motivation to prevent disease and pest populations establishing. A very wise man told me on Saturday the worst thing you could do in this situation is too cut inputs/costs. It is a very easy statement to make but I agree on the premise that unless you see no price recovery in the winter, then absolutely take the knife to your expenses but don’t complain or try to recover your crop if the tables turn. I want to emphasise and encourage all growers to maintain normal crop measures.
Lockdown with the Kids:
I don’t know how everyone else is coping but day 30+ locked up with my four and five-year-old boys has been a strong test of my patience. Apparently, my boys never want to go back to school/day care, they are having much more fun with Mum and I at home compared to being at school! Running a business during the lockdown has its challenges, as so many of you are aware. For me it has meant working very late at night but I am very grateful I’ve had the opportunity to continue to work. It is going to be a slog but these are the cards we are dealt, and as they keep telling us ‘we are all in this together’. Thank you to all Grower2Grower customers, readers, and supporters – we would not have a business without all of you.
Keep safe and let’s get growing. (no one was serioulsy hurt in this chainsaw chase)