In the UK, Jersey farmers are asking for government funding to help them provide fresh seasonal produce to meet an expected shortfall in imported vegetables over the winter.
Following recent discussions led by Deputy Steve Luce and involving key agricultural industry members and government officers, growers have put together a proposal to up production to meet local demand for seven crops – main-crop potatoes, onions, leeks, cauliflowers, broccoli, calabrese and cabbage.
Deputy Luce finalised the plan over the weekend and the Farmers Food Planning Group is due to meet this week. “Our food security is really important and looking at the autumn and winter we are expecting to see food imports being reduced due to issues in other countries. What we can do is grow a range of the very basic seasonal crops that we are good at growing, but everybody is going to have to realise that there will be less choice than we have been used to for decades.”
The United Nations last week warned that worldwide fresh food shortages were likely this winter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Farmers in the UK and Europe – where Jersey’s food imports largely come from – are experiencing labour shortages that existed before countries shut their borders. There are also fears that big-producing countries, such as Spain and Italy, may hang on to their produce to protect home food security.
According to jerseyeveningpost.com, Jersey’s government has been looking into food security as part of its preparations for Brexit and an established working group of professionals – including local producers – already exists.