Carrot growers call for support as weather leaves lasting legacy

by Peter Crowe

UK carrot growers say that the effects of a long cold spring and hot dry summer will leave a lasting legacy in the industry and have called for more retailers to follow the lead of ASDA in adopting a flexible usage model.

British Carrot Growers Association Chairman Rodger Hobson said: “As the extreme temperatures of June and July give way to more normal temperatures, the effects of the past five months cannot be dismissed as a ‘flash in the pan’. There is no chance of a quick return to business as usual. The impact of the 2018 growing season will be felt for the next nine months. Volumes are significantly down, and production costs have escalated. For an industry where margins are notoriously slim, this represents a serious threat to grower incomes and longer-term viability.”

Growers have welcomed the moves by ASDA to make sure none of the carrots go to waste. Work has been done on specifications resulting in an improved crop utilisation model. This approach had been applied to both whole-head carrots and prepared carrots and has helped to ensure that the majority of this year's crop - no matter what shape or size - is making it to the shelf.

Rodger Hobson said: “Working closely with major customers to make the most of the 2018 crop will enable growers to take their minds off whether or not a supermarket will buy their carrots and allow them to focus on getting out in the fields and delivering carrots for the UK consumer. Support from both retailers and customers is vital if UK growers are to survive the commercial difficulties caused by this summer.”