Apples and Pears Could Be Next Products of Food Shortage in UK, Farmers Warn

Business Consumer Goods

After it emerged that British farmers are planting only a third of the number of trees required to maintain orchards, claiming that their returns from selling to supermarkets are unsustainable, apples and pears may be the next food shortage in the UK.

According to Ali Capper, the head of the British Apples & Pears trade association, which represents about 80% of the UK industry, the UK’s 5,500 hectare (13,590 acres) of production would require one million new trees to be planted annually.

This year, farmers had only planned to order 330,000 apple and pear trees, down from 480,000. According to Capper, supermarket returns that are unsustainable were the primary reason for the lack of investment. Ali Capper said that while picking, energy, hauling, and packaging costs had increased, fruit growers’ costs had increased by approximately 23%, returns had increased by less than 1%. The majority of growers are suffering financial losses.

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Some farmers intend to leave the industry, while others have effectively put their orchards on hold or are razing them as the returns diminish. Ali Capper said that, this is a very serious situation. The cultivation of apples and pears in the UK is in serious jeopardy. This week, Tesco, Asda, Aldi, and Morrisons restricted purchases of certain lines, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, in response to Britain’s already severe food shortage.

The shortages have been caused by cold weather that has affected crops in Spain and North Africa, as well as by significant reductions made by British and Dutch growers, who plant salads under glass during this time of year because supermarkets, according to growers, were unable to cover the increased cost of heating.


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