With Brexit fast approaching, there’s a consumer demand that’s stronger than ever before for UK-grown products in the British domestic marketplace. So it was clearly a good decision for the growers at Thanet Earth in Kent when they invested to equip their newest cucumber greenhouse with growlights to boost their production capacity.
By using the lights to aid plant growth through January, Thanet Earth has entered the market first with a big ‘UK’ provenance win. Their cucumber harvest has begun, with the first UK cucumbers proudly supplied to retail customers on 24th January.
The lights are used to supplement daylight and through the night to extend the hours of light. Not only have they brought the plants into production more quickly, they also work to boost yield; the greenhouse has very quickly come into full production.
Commercially for Thanet Earth this makes a big difference. As Robert James, Technical Director of Thanet Earth explains: “Supplies from Spain can fluctuate at this time of year, with price volatility too. Having a proprietary source is a great way of securing our supply and has proven a worthwhile investment.”
The lit cucumber greenhouse is one of two for this crop at Thanet Earth. It was constructed in 2017 and is 6.5ha in size. It’s estimated that the output from Thanet Earth in cucumber crop accounts for around 21% of all cucumbers grown in the UK. The reliance on imports remains notable, with this amount equating to around 5% of UK consumption.*
* Data from Thanet Earth and DEFRA horticultural statistics 2018/2019.
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