Surging energy prices leave British glasshouses empty
This may sound trivial on the face of it, however, it shows how difficult life could get very soon. The crisis in the Ukraine has the potential to affect much larger swathes in life. With energy price rises affecting us directly through heating and fuel costs, it’s also coming indirectly through food and transport.
I’ve cherry picked a few points from the article.
ROYDON, England, March 31 (Reuters) – 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.”
Montalbano, whose grandfather emigrated from Sicily in 1968 and started a nursery to provide local stores with fresh cucumbers, decided not to plant the first of the year’s three cycles in January.
Last year he paid 40-50 pence a therm for natural gas. Last week it was 2.25 pounds a therm, having briefly hit a record 8 pounds in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
Fertiliser prices have tripled versus last year, while the cost of carbon dioxide – used both to aid growing and in packaging – and hard-to-attain labour have also shot up.
“We are now in an unprecedented situation where the cost increases have far outstripped a grower’s ability to do anything about them,” said Jack Ward, head of British Growers.
It means a massive contraction for the industry, threatening Britain’s future food security, and further price rises for UK consumers already facing a bigger inflation hit than other countries in Europe following Brexit.
UK inflation hit a 30-year high of 6.2% in February and is forecast to approach 9% in late 2022, contributing to the biggest fall in living standards since at least the 1950s.
Bill mentioned in another thread that there could well be a petrol/diesel shortage further down the line as fuel is diverted to the expeditionary forces lining up at the Russian borders. I’m not feeling very optimistic at the moment. 🙁