#VegetableShortages #Onions #Tomatoes #Cucumbers #Drought #NationalFarmersUnion #FreshProduce #Supermarkets #IndependentGrocers
As the drought lingers in key growing regions, onions are now in danger of disappearing from supermarket shelves just like tomatoes and cucumbers. With concerns about dwindling water supplies, some onion growers have reduced their planting for the season, making it harder for shoppers to get hold of the cooking staple over the summer.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) warns that a lack of rainfall in the coming months will compound the pressures onion growers are facing, particularly in East Anglia where the driest summer in nearly 30 years has left the region in official “drought” status. One major grower in Suffolk plans to reduce onion planting by about 400 acres due to prohibitively high energy bills and the risk of continued drought.
The shortages of fresh produce seen in supermarkets in recent weeks could last into the summer, says the NFU. While the government has claimed that the current vegetable shortage should be resolved within a month, tomato and cucumber growers dispute this prediction. The Lea Valley Growers Association predicts that stocks may not return to normal until May, and an onion shortage could mean shortages last “beyond May into the summer.”
British onions are primarily grown in Lincolnshire, East Anglia, Bedfordshire, and Kent, but retailers are starting to look further north for supplies due to problems in East Anglia. Despite this, not all retailers are struggling to fill their shelves. Some independent grocers have even reported an increase in business as shoppers unable to find the vegetables they want at supermarket chains come to them instead.