British carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes will become more expensive and harder to come by as farmers turn to less labor-intensive crops, growers have warned.
Vegetable growers are increasingly selling their land for equity and retiring early in greater numbers in the face of intense pressure from retailers to accept low prices for their produce, farmers have said.
Crops such as rapeseed, which are less labor-intensive and do not require a greenhouse setting, have become a more attractive proposition for British growers.
Rodger Hobson, who has been farming carrots for over 20 years and serves as chairman of the British Carrot Association, warned that shoppers would soon see fewer home-grown vegetables in supermarkets. He said reliance on imports will grow as more producers call it quits.
“More people than I’ve ever known are considering selling their land,” said Mr. Hobson, who is based in Yorkshire. “Growers are thinking, ‘Why are we doing this?’” Mr. Hobson said this was especially true of older farmers, for whom early retirement has become an increasingly attractive option.
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