NFU Scotland said millions of pounds worth of unharvested vegetables have been damaged by the unprecedented flooding seen in the country over the last week. It added that already tight profit margins mean many growers will be unable be able to absorb the significant losses.
NFUS president, Martin Kennedy, said, NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said: “The level of flooding seen in some parts of Scotland was exceptional. NFU Scotland is using its network of regional managers, group secretaries and local offices to monitor and report on the situation. Reports and social media coverage of the extensive flooding, landslips and road closures, significant areas of grassland, arable ground and high value crops such as potatoes, broccoli and turnips under water and the loss of fodder and bedding to flooding are clear indicators of the unprecedented scale of damage in some parts.
“What this event clearly demonstrates is that, when it comes to risk, it is the farming industry that is left carrying the can. While some losses may be insurable, many will not, and it is likely that farmers will be left with a bill for millions when the mop up is finally completed. I ask the Scottish Government to consider what short-term support it can offer to help the recovery process. Longer term, a realistic margin from the supply chain that builds enough of a buffer to absorb this type of hit is essential. It simply cannot be absorbed by businesses on the current price structures.”
Fruit and vegetable grower Stewarts of Tayside is one of the growers affected and believes that about half a million pounds worth of crops have been ruined across 60 hectares of its land, representing 2,000 tonnes of swedes, strawberries and potatoes.
Managing director Liam Stewart said, “There’s body blow after body blow and farmers are no longer growing the same amount of buffer as they traditionally would, so if something grows wrong, we take the hit. The cost of growing crops now is so high that you can’t grow in the hope you’ll sell it. We need everything to happen, otherwise it’s the difference between making money and not making money.”
Scottish government rural affairs secretary, Mairi Gougeon, told the BBC, “The rainfall we have seen over Scotland has been extreme, affecting many communities and businesses. We are engaging with the sector to determine how much they have been affected and what the implications of that are. Once we have the full picture, we will explore what can be done to help those affected.”
Affected farmers and growers can apply for support via RSABI’s £100,000 flooding fund.