UK: Soaring energy costs force growers to quit

Lee Stiles saw 10 growers leave 'London's salad bowl' last year as they struggled to make ends meet. He expects a similar number in his Lea Valley Growers Association to shut down shop this year as costly energy bills push them under.

The increase in prices threatens to open up a new front in the salad crisis, which resulted in supermarkets having to limit purchases of items, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, during a cold spell in southern Spain and north Africa in February.

Stiles fears British tomatoes will be late to our baskets this spring, with less choice and higher prices. "There will be fewer British tomatoes on the shelves," he says.

The National Farmers' Union has warned that this year there could be the lowest production of British tomatoes since 1985, after hefty rises in the cost of production – including energy to heat and light greenhouses – forced many growers to make cuts, mothball greenhouses or shut down altogether.


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