The National Farmers’ Union has warned of a huge drop in UK-grown crops, including peppers, cucumbers and aubergines, as it becomes too expensive to produce them.
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The NFU said producers of crops who use glasshouses are looking at a drop of up to 50% in the amount they can afford to grow because of the crippling increase in the cost of the gas they use for heating.
“The impact is being felt most in the protected crop sectors, that’s aubergines, peppers, cucumbers,” said Minette Batters, the president of the NFU. “We are already seeing massive contraction, these costs are making it impossible to grow. The only thing is to keep these glasshouses empty.”
The NFU has warned of a “very, very serious situation” as production of certain crops plummet due to rising gas prices.
Ms Batters said farmers have been “talking about going from 80 million cucumbers to 35 million, 100 million peppers to 15 million. … It’s a very, very serious situation in that sector and this situation isn’t going to go away any time soon, so it’s about planning the future.”
The disruption to food output, supply chains, availability and affordability, could last for many years, warns the NFU.
"Government attention is rightly focused on attempts to resolve the crisis. And, though we should in no way diminish national efforts to resolve the crisis, we must draw attention to dealing with the consequences for the UK," the NFU said.
"Many other countries will be facing similar issues, which include economy-wide disruption that could last for many years, including to our food output, our food supply chains and the availability and affordability of food to consumers."
NFU President Minette Batters will be chairing a Ukraine crisis virtual event for members on 16 March at 4:00pm that will look at what the impacts of the war in Ukraine are and how they can be mitigated.
She said, “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been devastating to the people who live there and we have offered assistance to Ukrainian farmers in any way possible.
“The war has also focused attention on the importance and fragility of food security, both at home and abroad. British farmers continue to stand ready to do all we can to ensure the public continues to have access to high-quality, affordable, climate-friendly food.
“There are some clear short and long-term actions that government can take to maintain confidence and stability across the UK’s food producing businesses. We have shared these with government and we want to stress that we stand ready to take these forward together, in order to navigate the extreme volatility we see today and expect to grow in the coming months.” ■