With less than three weeks to go until Christmas, the vegetable industry has captured the wider media’s interest with warnings of a shortage of the quintessential Christmas vegetable due to damage by Diamond Back moth.
Insecticide resistance made control difficult and the weather has not helped yields. In addition, the situation has been made worse by a reduction in the number of growers following several years of low prices. Interestingly, although supermarkets have said they will import crops if necessary, reports from Europe and the Netherlands in particular, suggest there is a shortage of crop over the Channel.
Total Produce Cornwall’s sales manager Colin Putt told the Fresh Produce Journal, “I think it will be an absolute nightmare. Demand is very strong, Dutch suppliers are putting the prices up and trying to slow the job down but it’s not having an effect. It’s only going to get worse. One grower told me ‘you’ll have sprouts for Christmas but we can’t guarantee how many you’ll get’.”
However, managing director of TH Clements, Chris Gedney, commented, “We are confident in delivering Christmas sprouts on volume and on quality. Retailers may well have a narrower range off the back of national shortages. Demand is as strong as we’ve seen it for several years.”
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