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Jersey: Growers warn of higher prices because of rise in energy costs

The sharp rise in energy and fuel costs could have a damaging knock-on effect for Jersey’s vegetable growers, leading to increased costs for consumers, growers have warned.

Paul Blake of La Chasse Produce in St Saviour said growers were turning down the heating in their greenhouses due to the increased energy cost. And the result was that vegetables were taking longer to grow and ripen – and were reaching the shops later than usual.

La Chasse Produce grows tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and courgettes under glass, much of which is then sold from Waitrose and Sandpiper outlets. Mr. Blake usually begins sowing his produce in October, with the first being picked around March. But he says he has had to reduce the temperature in his greenhouses by about 10%, so some produce did not develop as quickly as usual.

He said: ‘The fuel price crept up over the winter, but in the last six to eight weeks, it has gone absolutely mad.’ He admitted the higher heating bills were causing a ‘very slight’ increase in vegetable prices but added: ‘We are covering most of the additional costs ourselves.

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