Home Business News Poor harvests has led to a ‘real risk’ bread, beer and biscuit prices could rise

Poor harvests has led to a ‘real risk’ bread, beer and biscuit prices could rise

29th Apr 24 11:26 am

The unusually wet weather over the winter months could hit harvests in the UK by nearly a fifth and there is a “real risk” bread, beer and biscuit prices could soar.

Crop area forecasts have been analysed by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) from government data and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHBD).

The analysis found that wheat, oats, oilseed rape and barley could fall by 4 million tonnes, which is a reduction of 17.5%.

The analysis also suggests that this could rise to more than 5 million tonnes compared to production between 2015 and 2023, or 21.2%.

Over the autumn and winter months crops have been flooded due to the manty named storms the UK has seen and the constant wet weather which has all led to losses for British farmers.

The head of Associated British Foods (ABF) warned last week there could be a rise in prices.

ABF who owns Kingsmill and Ryvita warned there could be a rise in domestic grains which is not offset with larger harvests overseas.

Colin Chappell, an arable farmer from Lincolnshire and member of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN), said, “It’s had a massive impact on us.

“We went through the winter with virtually nothing viable drilled, and while it’s now dry enough to plant some fields some of them are so bad I don’t think they’ll get drilled this year. The situation is very hit and miss.”

Tom Lancaster, land analyst at ECIU, said there’s a “real risk” that bread, beer and biscuits will rise should the poor harvest lead to higher costs.

Lancaster said, “To withstand the wetter winters that will come from climate change, farmers need more support.”

“The Government’s green farming schemes are vital to this, helping farmers to invest in their soils to allow them to recover faster from both floods and droughts.”

He then said that farmers in the UK and overseas will have to be supported by the government.

“Moving faster to net zero emissions is the only guaranteed way to limit these impacts and maintain our food security,” he added.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Since the pandemic, managing the cost of doing business for brewers and pubs, including dealing with an overall increasing tax burden, has proven more difficult than usual.

“This year’s prolonged rain and the effect that it may have on the winter harvest is yet another unexpected cost factor.

“Brewers and pubs will strive to absorb some of these costs, but with margins at historical lows, if it cannot be avoided, some costs will have to be passed on, underlining the urgency for the government to set out a long-term fiscal and regulatory framework that will ensure that the beer and pub sector does not just survive, but thrives.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We have protected over 900,000 acres of agricultural land from the impacts of flooding since 2015, and are investing £5.6 billion to better protect communities from flooding and coastal erosion.

“We have opened the Farming Recovery Fund, which provides grants of up to £25,000 to eligible farmers affected by Storm Henk.

“We continue to keep the weather situation and the subsequent impact on the 2024 harvest under close review.”

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