Growers in southern Spain:

“Cherry tomatoes could cost 10% more 'within a week of Brexit'”

The cost of cherry tomatoes could increase by more than 10% if there is a no deal Brexit, say growers in southern Spain. On a site near Alicante, 60 million kilograms of cherry tomatoes are grown, picked and shipped every year and a third of them are bound for the UK. But growers are worried that a no deal Brexit is going to push up the price we pay for them in the shops.

Jorge Brotons is the commercial director for Bonnysa and deals with all the big UK supermarkets. The business has been growing tomatoes for the UK since 1956: "We're trying to understand what the different scenarios can be. If there is no deal, we'll have to trade in a different way as tariffs will be applied, new inspections and this means we add new processes to current situations.”

Ultimately it means more work, more time, more people to make checks and all that means more costs. "The cost in agriculture and margins are very very tight, and the history of prices shows tomatoes haven't increased in 15 years," he says. "With all costs increasing our margins are so tight - we can't absorb any more cost and any more costs in that chain means losses and having to decide to do something else." quoted Angel Jiminez, director of exports at Trota, a logistics firms that sends 200 lorries of tomatoes to the UK every week, as saying: "Right now there is no paperwork involved to cross the border and we can cross easily, but more paperwork means delays. Time is money, more days is more time - and it is the final buyer who pays for everything."

He also says the haulier industry is nowhere near prepared enough: "Brexit is not going to be easy at the beginning."

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