An apple tree in an orchard
UK Food Shortages Throw Future Of British Fruit Orchards In Jeopardy
By Elias Nash
Thanks to a perfect storm of climate change, international relations, and labor conflicts, the U.K. has been struggling with multiple fruit and vegetable shortages, and it seems likely that fruit orchards will be hit next. British farmers have reportedly planted just one-third of the trees they need to maintain normal production levels.
Growers say they've been forced to cut back due to rising costs of energy, labor, packing, and shipping — a 23% increase in farm expenses, compared to a 1% interest in returns. Many growers have decided to abandon their profession entirely, digging up their orchards in search of a more profitable career, which won't just affect the country's food supply.
Orchards are important anchors of biodiversity, and many more species may suffer as farmland is lost. A representative of the Lea Valley Growers Association, one of the U.K.'s largest consortiums of farmers, told CNN that many crops will remain in short supply until May. In the meantime, consumers can expect grocery store rationing to continue.