British tomatoes in danger

The British tomato could become an endangered species, as could staples such as cucumbers and spring onions, due to a drop in production-only one in five tomatoes eaten is British. These are the dramatic findings of an NFU report, Catalyst for Change, which blames the crisis on growers’ lack of confidence in the supply chain. ‘British growers make a staggering financial commitment every year,’ says Tomato Growers Association chairman Nigel Bartle.

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‘The average cost of production is £80,000 per hectare and investment in glasshouses is £1 million per hectare. So the cost of doubling production from 200 hectares and an 18% market share would be £200 million. Growers have to ask themselves whether that’s a gamble worth taking.’ The NFU is calling for retailers and processors to sign up to its Fruit and Veg Pledge for best practice.

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