Locally produced food could soon become a rare commodity in British supermarkets. Local farmers are alarmed and are calling on the British government to take decisive action.
According to its local farmers, Great Britain has to be increasingly concerned about food from domestic production. “We should never take our food safety for granted,” National Farmers Union President Minette Batters said at a union meeting.
British egg production has fallen to its lowest level in nine years. Almost a billion fewer eggs were produced last year than in 2019. For tomatoes and cucumbers, the association expects production to fall to its lowest level since 1985. A number of cattle farmers also want to downsize their farms in the next twelve months – 40 percent of cattle farmers and 36 percent of sheep farmers.
Ukraine war, Brexit and climate change
The farmers see several reasons for these developments: In addition to the increased costs caused by the Ukraine war, trade barriers caused by Brexit and an increased shortage of staff also play a role. Climate change is also making life difficult for the industry, for example due to droughts.
“The clock is ticking,” said Batters, calling on the British government to take decisive action. Trade barriers would have to be dismantled, farmers supported and climate protection measures consistently pursued. In addition, in view of the increasing global burdens, one should not rely on closing the gaps with imports.
The BBC reported on Tuesday that some of the vegetable shelves in supermarkets were unusually empty, so tomatoes in particular are said to be in short supply. These are commonly imported into Britain during the winter, often from Spain or Morocco. Harvests there were recently affected by a cold spell that followed unseasonably warm weather. The supermarket chain Asda even limited the sale of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables, according to the report.