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Great Britain - Potato shortage after failure to dredge rivers led to flooding

NFU president Minnette Batters has stated that Britain could be facing a potato shortage after failure to dredge rivers led to flooding. She added that water has been managed in a “disgraceful” way.

Up to 50 per cent of this year’s crop is rotting in the ground because farmers have been unable to harvest, Batters said, adding that she had “never seen so little winter planting in [her] working lifetime”.

The UK is entirely self-sufficient in fresh potatoes, so a shortage could cause cost rises and a lack of the vegetable in supermarkets. There will also likely be a shortage of seed for spring planting, meaning issues could continue into next year.

Brussels sprouts and maize could also be affected, Batters added, but said farmers “will be doing everything possible to make sure there are no shortages of sprouts for Christmas, there are no shortages of potatoes.”

However, she pointed out that the Environment Agency needs to work with farmers to ensure rivers are dredged and water can move across the country. She explained: “We have got to see radical change in how we make space for water…we manage it in the most disgraceful way and we need to fix the system for food, for farmers and for people.

“We need the Environment Agency to work with us and make sure water can travel. In many parts of the UK we have too much water and many we have far too little”.

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