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Ireland experiences shortage of glasshouse crops

Tomato, lettuce and pepper supply challenges

Ireland is experiencing a shortage of glasshouse crops such as tomatoes due to what is called ‘a perfect storm’ of issues, including rising fuel costs and torrential rains in Spain. Already, a number of supermarkets have erected signs in recent days warning of supply issues.

A sign in Lidl said it is ‘short stocked’  on some tomato lines due to ‘unseasonably’ wet weather in Spain, while a sign in Supervalu said most tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and broccoli are unavailable ‘due to reasons beyond our control’. Justin Leonard, managing director of wholesale fruit and vegetable supplier Jackie Leonard and Sons in Dublin, said there are a number of issues causing the recent shortage, which is Europe-wide. It is affecting all glasshouse crops, including lettuce, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, he added.

“There is shocking weather in Spain, including torrential rain. It just washed a lot of the plants away and damaged them. So a lot of the plants are just shutting down and dying off. Then you also have the Spanish truckers protesting because of the cost of fuel. It’s a double whammy,” he said.

“Then it’s coming to the end of the Spanish season but the Dutch and Irish summer season hasn’t started yet. We’re reliant on natural daylight, but we’re not getting enough of it to grow the plants quick enough. Then, because of the war in Ukraine, they’re not able to afford to artificially heat the glasshouses because of the cost of gas and oil. It’s just a perfect storm that’s leading to a backlog.”


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