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Madness as British farmer moves fruit-growing to China

The Guardian reported today that one of the biggest growers of berries in the UK is moving part of its business to China because with Brexit uncertainty it cannot guarantee it will find enough fruit pickers available to work. This is typical of a MAD food industry. How can it possibly be better to get food that grows well in this country produced on China and transported 3,500 miles to the UK.

The soft fruit grower in Herefordshire will relocate up to 20% of production to Yunnan province in China because of uncertainty over migrant labour due to Brexit. The company has a turnover of over £100m and explained that they can’t afford to wait for the government to reveal their immigration policy as next year’s harvest has to be planned this year.

This is what happens with an industry where consumers have been disconnected from food producers and manipulated by marketeers to think all varieties of fruit and veg are available all year round. Farmers react to the supermarket demands and sometimes have to do some crazy things to make a profit from the average 9p they get from every £1 spent on food in a supermarket.

Unfortunately consumers do not notice the change in price as the season changes, where the food has been grown, or the hidden cost of food, such as; carbon dioxide omissions, food miles, chemical residues, subsidies, land degradation or unfair wages.

The transportation from China and hidden costs must be more than our higher wage cost so something must be done. The government probably wont react, businesses will try and keep everything quiet and find an opportunity to make more money and consumers will end up paying more for a product they could easily find an alternative for.

The answer: Switch to buying local food from local suppliers and ask lots of questions. Encourage your local farmers to grow more food and eat seasonal food that will normally be cheaper than the supermarket. To find your local food outlets simply type your post code in to our Local Food Map here.

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