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5 February 1999
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry says the recent rainfall in the North Islandhas ended the physical symptoms of the drought in that part of the country.
However MAF senior policy analyst Chris Ward says pasture will not recover instantlyand therefore there are ongoing repercussions for farmers.
"We are dealing with biological systems and therefore the effects of aprolonged dry period can continue for one to two years," he says.
He agrees with recent farmer comments that if there is no rain between now and April,there will be a quick relapse into so-called drought conditions.
The North Island rain has caused MAF to revise the estimated potential income lost -from $380-m to $300-m.
MAF does not expect requests for Government drought relief assistance from North Islandfarmers now that there has been significant rainfall.
Chris Ward says the combination of $240-m in potential losses for this financial yearplus another $60-m through the ongoing effect of the drought in the next financial yearmake up the total of estimate farm gate loss of opportunity of $300-m.
This comes on top of last year's drought which is estimated to have cost $500-m inpotential earnings over the last and this financial year.
Current Farm Gate Drought Cost Estimates for Two Years of Drought
Contact: Chris Ward, MAF senior policy analyst tel. 04-474-4168