Up to half the greenhouse growers in the Lea Valley are not planning on growing crops next year due to rising energy costs and low margins. The news was shared in a tweet by the Lea Valley Growers Association which has just celebrated its 110th birthday, and which represents 100 growers in the area.
According to an article posted by the Association, a lack of labour is also undermining grower’s businesses. “We are seeing Romanians going to Germany now because of the exchange rates and because we are having battles in trying to offer good standards for on-site nursery workers,” said Lee Stiles, Secretary of the Association. “The cost of rent is prohibitive.”
In another tweet the Association warned, ‘Peppers are one of the most devalued British fresh produce items in the last decade and many British growers can no longer make a living from them.’
Speaking to a parliamentary enquiry, NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw stressed, “The food wastage [due to labour shortages] we’re seeing at farm level, whether courgettes, apples going unpicked, autumn raspberries not being picked, and tragic culls going on in the pig sector, is completely inexcusable.”
At the same hearing, Neil Parish MP commented, “If we don’t import our labour, we export our business.”