European vegetable farmers warn that higher energy prices could cause more businesses to cut production and close, leading to chronic shortages.
Higher energy prices could reduce production of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers grown in winter in heated greenhouses, and apples, onions and endives kept in cold storage.
Pekka Pessonen, executive director of the Brussels-based agricultural cooperative Copa Kojeca, said: Said Bloomberg. “Some shortages and increased seasonality and higher prices may be expected to somewhat offset rising production costs.”
The warning, combined with Russia’s cut in supplies to the European Union in response to a series of Western sanctions, has led to Russia’s decision to reduce its reliance on gas following the invasion of Ukraine. It is thus issued at a time when Europe is facing a growing energy crisis.
European natural gas prices fell this week after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial military mobilization” of Russian citizens amid a Ukrainian counterattack that has resulted in numerous defeats to the Kremlin in recent weeks. soared.
Earlier this month, the Agri-Food Chain Association Primary Food Processors (PFPs) and FoodDrinkEurope, as well as Copa-Cogeca, said that natural gas, electricity, fertilizer, transportation fuel, packaging, and external labor costs would all increase significantly. did.
These costs were initially driven by the rebound of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues, but were exacerbated by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the group said.
Further exacerbating the situation are extensive droughts, storms and cold weather, creating another set of difficulties for farmers and their crops.
The certainty you need for stable prices
“Recent increases in energy prices, particularly natural gas and electricity, are threatening the continuity of the agri-food production cycle and thus our ability to continue to provide essential agricultural commodities, food ingredients and products, and feed ingredients,” it said. The group said a statement.
“The sector needs to ensure access to energy and stable prices in order to continue operations and maintain a fully functioning food supply chain,” they added.
The Food Producers Association also noted that some of its members have already been forced to cut production, lay off staff or, in the worst cases, close their businesses altogether.
“As during the COVID-19 crisis, we are committed to working with European institutions to continuously provide high-quality, affordable products,” the group noted.
Elsewhere, the greenhouse horticulture industry group Glastuinbouw Nederland To tell While up to 40% of its 3,000 members are coping with financial difficulties, Nordic Greens, the largest tomato producer in Sweden and Denmark, announced They won’t grow tomatoes in the previous country this winter. Because “electricity prices are ridiculous” and they couldn’t afford the increased costs.
Amid warnings of shortages in Europe, some analysts believe supermarkets may source goods for warm-climate customers in Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt.
“We will move production further south, through Spain, into Morocco and parts of Africa,” Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Producers Association, told Reuters.
Ahead of winter, European countries have outlined various measures to conserve energy, with Germany securing liquefied natural gas contracts with producers in the Persian Gulf and France bringing its old nuclear reactors into operation by then. are competing to
Reuters contributed to this report.