21 February 2023
BBC Farming Today has been looking into why it’s currently hard to find some salad products on supermarket shelves.
Hopefully we'll be able to explain in tomorrow morning's @BBCFarmingToday with @HillFT - we're speaking to Prof Jim Monaghan from @HarperAdamsUni about salad shortages— Farming Today (@BBCFarmingToday) February 20, 2023
As part of their investigation, they spoke to Harper Adams University expert Professor Jim Monaghan, Director of the Fresh Produce Research Centre in this morning's programme.
He explained: “The crops we’re talking about would be tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, but also lettuce – at this time of year, most of our crop will be coming from Almeria, in the south-east of Spain, and also over the Straits of Gibraltar into Morocco.
“The weather they had there, they had a very warm December – it was so hot it impacted the flowering of those crops, so you had fewer fruit developing, and then they have had freezing temperatures for the last couple of weeks, and that’s meant crops are standing still and haven’t progressed.”
Professor Monaghan was also asked about the reaction of small and medium sized UK businesses – some of whom are saying they are choosing not to plant yetr - or at all.
He explained: “The cost of fuel is very high – if you are going to be trying to put a crop in early, you need to heat the glasshouse.
"I know a number of growers in the UK who have either not planted – and some have gone out of business – but others where they have just held back their planting, to try to let the weather warm up a bit so they have had to pay less to heat their structures.”
With industry voices highlighting the rising costs for British growers, Professor Monaghan added: “No farmer can grow crops at a loss, and if their costs of production, out of their control, have increased significantly, they need to see that return – or we won’t have those crops there for us when, actually, imports start to become difficult.”
The full interview also touches on the challenges of climate change, Brexit, and more – listen again here.