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"Heartbreaking": British Fruit Farmers on the Brink as Cheap Deals and Rising Costs Collide

British fruit farmers are facing a crisis, with morale collapsing just as their picking season begins.

Squeezed from all sides, they grapple with rock-bottom Easter produce deals, a post-Brexit labor shortage, soaring energy costs, and this week's hefty wage increase.

For some, it's the final straw. Businesses are shuttering, leaving growers frustrated and heartbroken. The impact particularly echoes through the Scottish sector, from Perthshire to Fife.

"We loved what we did," says Stephen Corrigall, formerly of Leadketty Farm, which recently ceased operations. "But there's no point killing yourself working and making nothing at the end of it."

He's not alone. The latest wage hike, though vital to workers, has left many growers unable to keep pace. Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association, recognizes the need for a living wage but laments, "There is no recognition of the cost of production and the cost of food."

Easter's bargain-bin produce may please shoppers, but it obscures the unsustainable reality.

Retailers are demanding lower prices even as farmers' costs skyrocket.

Iain Brown, owner of Easter Grangemuir farm, employs over 100 pickers at peak season and echoes the sentiment: "Unless our customers pay us so we can make a margin, plant orders will drop, and producers won’t grow unless it’s profitable."

The stakes are high. Strawberry season is imminent, but some growers have already elected not to plant this year. Shoppers could face the consequences in the form of higher fruit prices in the short term and dwindling British supply in the long run.

Source: The Scotsman


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