Saturday, August 24, 2019

Carrot shortage expected to increase imports

July 31, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

Low carrot yields due to challenging weather conditions this season are set to mean the highest level of imports for decades, according to the British Carrot Growers Association.

The situation is compounded by water restrictions that are ‘turning off the tap’ on irrigation systems vital to the crop. Carrot agronomist Howard Hinds estimates that some crops will see reduced yields 30-40% lower than last year.

Association chairman Rodger Hobson said the carrot ‘crisis’ was likely to continue for anything up to 11 months – prompting concern because the UK is traditionally self-sufficient in carrots with around 97% being supplied by British growers.

“The British carrot growing industry is respected worldwide for its ability to produce ‘fresh from the field’ carrots 52 weeks of the year,” said Mr Hobson. “However, we have suffered the ‘perfect storm’ of poor conditions this year.”

A cold, wet spring delayed planting by a month – shortening the growing season by around 18%. This was followed by hot summer weather with daily temperatures hitting 25-32ºC – causing carrots to stop growing and wilt in the fields.

Mr Hobson said: “This weather has hit all the major growing areas of Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Fife.”

While some imports may be available, mainland Europe has also suffered from similar weather conditions and carrots are not plentiful there either.  This meant shipments may have to come from further afield, said Mr Hobson.

He added: “I have spoken to all the major carrot growers this week and they unanimously agree that the poor yields will massively push up UK production costs and that substantial imports will be required this season.

“Carrots are undoubtedly the ‘nation’s favourite vegetable’ and will still remain great value in terms of the nutrition and health benefits they provide. However, it is almost inevitable that the price in the shops will go up.”