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Current shortages 'just the start', says Batters

Brexit has added to the UK’s mounting food supply crisis which has seen a “crippling” shortage of some goods in the supermarket, the nation’s farming union has said.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) said current shortages “could just be the start” and warned that consumers could soon see a scarcity of tomatoes, cucumbers, pears and other fresh produce.

NFU president Minette Batters said Britain’s fruit and vegetable supply could soon be “in trouble”, as she urged the government to help producers under severe strain from soaring costs.

Ms Batters also said Brexit was partly to blame for the food sectors’ woes because of acute labour shortages and the costly burden of red tape faced by British exporters trying to sell to the EU.

Decrying the ongoing “challenges of trade” with the bloc after Brexit, the NFU chief told The Independent: “It has added cost. We are exporting less into the EU than we were. Leaving the EU was always going to add cost.”

Saying Brexit problems had been “compounded” by Covid and soaring energy costs, Ms Batters added: “The global pandemic added a lot of cost inflation, and the war in Ukraine has blown all of that apart and added a whole new level of cost inflation that no-one could have predicted.”


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