- Across northern and western Europe, vegetable producers are contemplating halting their activities.
- It is primarily because of Europe’s energy crisis.
- It might lead to a hike in food prices across the continent.
Emmanuel Lefebvre produces thousands of tonnes of endives on his farm in northern France annually, but this year he may abandon his crop because of the crippling energy costs required to freeze the harvested bulbs. Emmanuel’s case is not a stand alone one. Such is the story of most of the farmers across Europe who are being haunted by growing energy crises in the continent.
A Sea-Saw Scenario
As the power and gas price surges, it is leading to shortage of vegetable production. Power hike will certainly impact crops grown through the winter in heated greenhouses such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, and those which need to be placed in cold storage, such as apples, onions and endives. Endives are particularly energy hungry. After the bulbs are harvested in the autumn, they are stored in below-freezing temperatures and then later replanted in temperature-controlled containers to allow for year-round production.
A Southward March
Farmers are not just contending with spiraling energy prices. The cost of fertilizer, packaging and transport are all on the rise and jeopardizing margins. Johannes Gross, deputy sales manager at the German cooperative Reichenau-Gemüse said “We face an overall increased production cost of around 30 per cent. Some colleagues are thinking about leaving their greenhouses empty to keep the costs as low as possible. Nobody knows what will happen next year”.
Even in sun-flushed countries like Spain, fruit and vegetable farmers are grappling with a 25 per cent increase in fertilizer costs. Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association, said it was inevitable production of fruit and vegetables would shift to warmer climes. “We will move production further and further south, down through Spain and into Morocco and bits of Africa” Ward commented.
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