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NFU chair Minette Batters urges UK government to prevent market failures in protected crops and other sectors

According to NFU chair Minette Batters, the UK government should use its powers under the Agriculture Act to prevent market failures in protected crops and other sectors. She is convinced that, if no action is taken, continued contraction in production will lead to further food inflation.

Ms Batters: “We are seeing an enormous contraction in the protected cultivation sector. I’ve had calls from growers who say it’s just not viable if the government doesn’t intervene with direct help for this sector.”

Defra figures show a 6% decrease in cucumber production on an annual basis and a comparable situation for tomatoes.

At the British Growers Association, which represents producers of processed and fresh fruit and vegetables, CEO Jack Ward said: “It’s a seriously scary moment for the fresh produce industry, at a time when we should be looking at expanding and making supply more resilient. The hardest hit today are those with high energy bills – all crops being stored, such as onions, apples and some cabbages. Retailers are switching to lower-volume premium lines or low-cost lines. This erodes some of the returns a grower could get for standard lines.”


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