Northland kūmara growers are looking ahead with hope that they will rebound from a dismal season as planting for new-season crops gets under way. More than 70% of the about-to-be-harvested kūmara crop was either destroyed in Cyclone Gabrielle in February, or wasn’t good enough quality to be stored for very long. Ruawai kūmara grower Warwick Simpson says the poor yield has a flow-on effect as 5% of each grower’s crop is used for seed the following season. He says growers have a Kūmara Seed Contingency scheme funded by the MPI that ensures growers have at least 77% of the required seed for this planting season. MPI has provided just under $270,000 funding for growers that were unable to harvest enough seed so that they can buy seed off other growers get going this coming season.
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