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Too early to rule out pea compensation

By Alisa Yong
[email protected]
Compensation might still be on the cards for farmers hit by a two-year ban on growing peas, says Wairarapa Federated Farmers president Jamie Falloon.
Mr Fallon confirmed he had been in discussions with the Ministry for Primary Industries on a “solutions package” which might possibly include compensation following the announcement of the ban earlier this week.
“It’s too early to say how that [solutions package] is going to be set up, but we are working pretty hard with involvement from growers to come up with sensible options,” Mr Falloon said.
“It’s too early to say that there’s no compensation.”
The ban is expected to hit pea farmers in the region hard, with the crop understood to be worth between $12 to $15 million each year.
The ban on commercial and home growing came into force yesterday, as the ministry attempts to eradicate the pest pea weevil insect, which causes damage to growing peas.
It was important home gardeners supported farmers by complying with the ban, he said.
“It only flies to the pea flower and reproduces so it needs a collaborative effort to get all the weevils out of the Wairarapa.
“It’s really important that there are no peas grown.”
The ban applies to growing peas, including sugar snap peas, and moving pea seed and untreated pea straw in and out the controlled area for two years.
The weevil has not been found in other parts of the country.
MPI spokeswoman Dr Veronica Herrera said the ministry was considering options for alternative crops and a future support package for growers to mitigate the financial impact of the ban.
“We know that the local pea growers are making a sacrifice to protect their grower counterparts in other regions.
“It’s important we do this to protect all of New Zealand’s commercial pea growers, as well as home gardens.”
Wairarapa pea farmers are meeting with the Foundation for Arable Research to discuss alternative crops on Monday.

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