ONE OF the wettest winters and coldest springs recorded has led to the lowest yielding potato crops since the drought of 1976.
The Britsih Potato Council has warned that stocks are down by almost 20% like for like on last year. Many other crops are also expected to be in short supply with imports replacing many other normally domestic crops. We are likely to see more French potato varieties such as Belle de Fontenay as varieties like Maris Piper have simply failed to grow. Further manifest to the treacherous conditions is that Britain has become a net importer of wheat following 12 months of poor harvests for the first time in a decade.
Higher carrot, pea and tomato prices can also be expected as many planned crops were not planted or were simply being stunted by lack of light. Farmers have warned that British carrots will be smaller and less juicy because of waterlogged conditions, whilst Jersey Royals are likely to be at least a month late because planting in January was delayed by the extreme weather.
Retail prices of 2.5kg of white potatoes has risen by 43%, from £1.35 this time last year to £1.93, and is set to rise further. Other vegetables such as broccoli and peas as well as bulb vegetables such as onions are expected to go up by at least 15%, whilst seasonal British fruit forecasters predict will rise by at least 6%.
Is what has already started as a rotten year for public procurement set to last? Find out more in the April issue of Footprint.