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No. 21 (December 1957)
– 53 –

The Home Garden MARKETING OF THE KUMARA

In many cases the Maori people, although taking a pride in their home garden and surrounds, often crop adjourning areas, or family land interests, for commercial purposes, and as it could be reliably stated kumaras are grown fairly extensively for domestic use, and commercially as a sideline to supplement income. It is therefore proposed to give some information on the marketing of this produce, to those who are not fortunate to be in close proximity to the larger centres of distribution. On some of the back country farms; on the coastal belt for instance, freight rates are extremely high owing to the length of haulage of the produce and if the venture of cropping is to be successful then the marketing of produce must be given due consideration.

Firstly too much poorly packed, mixed lines of kumaras, are often to be found on the market floors, with a consequent very low value for the contents. Secondly diseased tubers are very often packed with number one kumaras, with the result that on arrival at the market, wet and dripping bags are often for sale, and in many cases the whole line is condemned. Thirdly, utmost care must be taken during harvesting, if the keeping qualities of the produce are to be sustained.

It is therefore very necessary after harvesting the crop carefully, to grade and store in pits [ unclear: ] specially prepared houses. At this time of the year, as a rule, market returns are at a fairly consistent low level, owing to much Autumn produce becoming available and being disposed of through the markets. A fair idea of average prices ruling can be obtained from the daily and local papers and if further information is required, produce merchants in various centres will gladly submit price trends from their particular province. It cannot be over stressed, that the growers concerned must produce and submit for sale, a product which buyers keenly bid for, and each