British-grown potatoes, vegetables and fruit are at risk as growers struggle to cope with extreme and unpredictable weather, made more likely by climate change.
Apple growers lost around 25% of their harvest in 2017 due to unexpectedly late frosts. Carrot (down a reported 25-30%) and onion yields (reportedly down 40% on a normal year) were hampered in 2018 by warmer than average temperatures. Potato yields were down on average 20% in England and Wales in 2018 compared to the previous season, making it the 4th smallest harvest since 1960. For consumers, the lack of water and extreme heat of 2018 was reported to have cut more than one inch off the size of the average chip.
This report draws on research by the Priestley International Centre for Climate and says the UK can expect more frequent extreme weather events – including longer-lasting and more intense heatwaves, and a one-in-three chance of record-breaking rainfall hitting parts of England each winter.
The report, Recipe for disaster: climate change threatens British-grown fruit and veg, is being published as part of The Climate Coalition Show The Love campaign which celebrates things that we love but could lose to climate change.