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Low pound makes UK exports competitveAmid the shortages created by the extreme weather conditions in southern Europe, on the back of an unstable pound and the looming uncertainty of Brexit, is there anything positive for the UK fresh produce sector at the moment??
One vegetable trader thinks that there is: "The pound is low at the moment and UK producers need to see how they can use that to their advantage. We have great seasonal vegetables such as carrots, kale, cauliflower and Savoy cabbage which we can export," explains Shane Talling from Veg UK.
The crisis in Spain has forced people to look at the domestic seasonal crop rather than imported vegetables. Shane hopes this will continue and said that until now many people have been unaware where their fresh produce comes from because it is just always there on the supermarket shelves.
Most northern European countries are producing winter vegetables at the moment, but the difference is that due to the low pound the UK can now compete with these other producers. According to Shane the quality of the UK produce is very good.
"There is plenty of cauliflower around at the moment, the season was delayed by a month due to the cold weather but it is all starting to come on now and there will be big supply. We export in boxes of 6, 8 and 12 and although the price is changing daily it is very competitive," explains Shane. "There is also a good supply of kale around too and exports will start next week. We are exporting a lot of carrots across Europe at the moment especially to Scandinavia where it is very cold just now."
Shane reckons that the low pound is here to stay, at least until trade deals have been sorted out in the Brexit negotiations. "The value of the pound is all about confidence on the money markets. The UK is more of an importer than an exporter so it makes sense for European companies to keep exporting here, but of course there may be tariffs brought into place and imported fruit and vegetables may become more expensive. This should make people think more about what is available locally."
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