Only two or three pieces of vegetables per person, as there is a great shortage in Great Britain outside

Only two or three pieces of vegetables per person, as there is a great shortage in Great Britain  outside

UK supermarkets place food rations on customers due to shortages of fruits and vegetables from Spain and North Africa. The British Minister of Agriculture advised the British to embrace the turnip.

At a Tesco supermarket in Islington, north London, the fruit and vegetable section looks like a view of the moon. Cucumbers, heads of lettuce, peppers and tomatoes have not been available for days. The crisis in Islington is not an isolated crisis. Large grocers across the UK are facing a shortage of imports from southern Europe and Morocco.

Two or three pieces maximum

The need was so great that the boards of giants Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco decided to set rations. Nobody gets more than two or three pieces of the scarce product available. This is due to “uncontrolled weather conditions” and plastic notes on the shelves. This is partly true, but the problems run deeper.

During this period, the UK imports 90% of its lettuce. For tomatoes, this percentage is even higher. The Spanish harvest failed due to a combination of the heat wave and the severe cold of the winter. Floods in Morocco and storms in the Mediterranean made it impossible to count on North Africa. This led to a strange statement by the Minister of Agriculture, Therese Coffey. According to her, Brits shouldn’t complain, but should embrace kale.


Food industry ‘significantly disrupted’ by Brexit

Justin King, former CEO of Sainsbury’s

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Coffey stated, somewhat awkwardly, that in line with the ideals of Brexit, the UK should be able to stand up for itself in order to avoid such situations. This note is reminiscent of austerity during World War II, when Swedish appeared at almost every meal. It led to gloating among Spaniards, who posted pictures of the full shelves on social media. Did the British feel the consequences of their failure?

Annoyed by Britain’s exit from the European Union

Ex-Sainsbury’s director Justin King points to Brexit as the cause. On BBC Radio 4, he said the food industry has been “has been massively disrupted by Brexit”. By decoupling itself from the European agricultural market, the UK is less able to rely on this infrastructure in the face of headwinds.

“If Spanish companies were contacted now, would they choose to deliver to the British or to countries within the EU to which it would be easier to export and not require all kinds of paperwork?” Pekka Bissonen, general secretary of Copa-Cogeca, the European counterpart to the NFU, told the Financial Times. Bisonnen touched a chord with this one. Brexit does not directly affect the empty shelves in north London and the rest of the country, but indirectly Britons are experiencing the pain of a new reality. The British are at the back of the line when there is a shortage. Or have to pay the main price.

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