A shortage of fruit and vegetables in the UK has led to most large supermarkets rationing these foods. According to one of the largest groups of British food producers, the situation will last until May.
“We have to pick tomatoes, peppers and eggplants now. However, because we planted them now instead of December last year, they won’t be ready until May,” Lea Valley Farmers Union secretary Lee Stiles told CNN.
“Food production has to be planned months in advance, it’s not like a factory that can be turned on and off at will,” he explained.
According to the association, which represents around 80 growers in the UK’s south-east, a key growing area that produces around three-quarters of the country’s cucumbers and peppers and a fifth of its aubergines, these foods have been unable to be harvested. , this usually happens because the high energy costs in winter have delayed your planting.
The crisis was exacerbated by low winter production in greenhouses in England and the Netherlands due to high energy costs. According to Agriculture Minister Mark Spencer, the crisis shows how dependent the UK is on certain trade routes for certain types of food.
“I know that when families do their weekly shopping, they expect to have fresh products on the shelves. “That’s why I’m calling on supermarket managers to find out what they’re doing to restock the shelves and outline how we can prevent this from happening again,” Spencer said in a statement.
Due to the shortage, supermarkets such as Lidl, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Aldi have imposed purchase limits on vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Lidl said it still had “good availability” of the products in most of its stores, but has seen a recent surge in demand and Tesco has limited purchases of these foods to three packs per customer.
The situation has led the government to schedule a meeting with the UK’s major supermarket groups to discuss what can be done to restock shelves with these products.
According to the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the shortage of produce in the country is already in its third week.
Although British supermarkets have yet to establish a direct link between Brexit and the crisis, labor shortages may be one reason for this shortage.
“It’s too late for farmers to plant their summer-autumn crops. The workers aren’t here, it’s 30 days to order seeds and 12 weeks to start harvesting,” said Lee Stiles, adding that Brexit had “restricted” the number of migrant workers.
“Spanish and Moroccan producers also decided to sell to Europe to avoid the cost of a four-day journey to the UK, additional fuel costs, customs fees, bureaucracy and queues at the border”, he explained.
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