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Fears of Christmas potato crisis as farmers warn of spud shortage

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Fears of Christmas potato crisis as farmers warn of spud shortage

Source - The Mirror

By - Sam Barker

Date - 09-08-2021

You might need to ration roast potatoes at Christmas as experts think the country is facing a spud shortage due to recent flooding.

The problem will hit frozen chips first, then spread to fresh potatoes.


The reason is that flooding has hit potato crops on the continent, particularly Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Many of these spuds are exported to the UK, according to a report from catering firm Lynx Purchasing.

This could also have a knock-on impact on British-grown potatoes as demand increases.

Other factors that could make the potato harvest less fruitful this year are a shortage of farm workers to dig them up, due to Brexit and Covid limiting this workforce.

Lynx managing director Rachel Dobson told the Yorkshire Post: "The recent floods in Europe have affected potato growers and processors in the region, with varieties grown for frozen chips particularly affected.

"The shortage abroad is likely to have a knock-on effect on availability of UK-grown potatoes.

"Come Christmas, we could find that the roast potato, a staple of festive dinners, is also in short supply."

Many of our favourite spud varieties are exported to the UK from Belgium and Germany
Last month Downing Street insisted "we have a robust and resilient food supply chain in the UK" and urged Brits not to panic.But Brexit and the 'pingdemic' have led to a shortage of workers in several industries, including crop picking, haulage, construction and hospitality.

The issue has already led to a shortage of goods on many supermarket shelves.

There is a lack of workers in many key roles due to Europeans facing too much red tape to work in the UK and many Brits being forced to stay at home and self-isolate.

This staff drought includes fruit and vegetable pickers, which are in short supply due to a lack of European workers coming to Britain as a result of the pandemic and Brexit.

Overseas labour makes up most of this workforce, and the issue was first flagged up in May.

Many supermarkets are also struggling to hire enough staff.

There are more than 10,000 positions currently available for supermarket workers, and almost 6,000 for retail workers, according to jobs website Adzuna.

John Lewis hands lorry drivers £5,000 pay rises as shortage causes empty shelves.

Iceland has announced plans to recruit an extra 2,000 staff to compensate for those self-isolating missing work and M&S have warned they may have to reduce opening hours.

There is also a shortage of the HGV drivers needed to deliver goods to shops and supermarkets.

Tesco is offering a £1,000 'golden handshake' joining bonus for HGV drivers to help plug the massive gap, while John Lewis is paying £5,000.

There is currently an estimated shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers in the UK, caused by a mixture of the coronavirus crisis and Brexit.


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This could be a Christmas catastrophe , I mean, no roasties for Christmas Dinner. 

I shall plant some up this week and see how it goes. :) 

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Fortunately, in the US we grow what we need.  I'd be willing to let you borrow some for Christmas dinner.  At our house ,we switched to red potatoes years ago.  We love them, but sometimes they are in short supply so I know how you must feel.  I hope this turns around for the UK in time for the Holiday Season. 

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Thanks for the very kind offer Craig. If you can post them out soon I would be most grateful as I have experience of your postal service, its no longer pony express, its more akin to wonkey donkey delivery :) 

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I'll warm up my throwing arm.  The Pennines, let me think.  Might need Schwindy's arm. 

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