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Cucumber crisis

Energy prices leave British glasshouses empty

In a small corner of south-east England, vast glasshouses stand empty, the soaring cost of energy preventing their owner from using heat to grow cucumbers for the British market.

Elsewhere in the country growers have also failed to plant peppers, aubergines and tomatoes after a surge in natural gas prices late last year was exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, making the crops economically unviable.

The hit to UK farms, which need gas to counter the country's inclement weather, is one of the myriad ways the energy crisis and invasion have hit food supplies around the world, with global grain production and edible oils also under threat.

In Britain it is likely to push food prices higher at a time of historic inflation, and threaten the availability of goods such as the quintessentially British cucumber sandwich served at the Wimbledon tennis tournament and big London hotels.

"Gas prices being so sky high, it's a worrying time," grower Tony Montalbano told Reuters, while standing in an empty glasshouse at Roydon in the Lea Valley where for 54 years three generations of his family have farmed cucumbers. All the years of us working hard to get to where we are, and then one year it could just all finish," he said.

Read the complete article at www.reuters.com.


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