The price of fruit and vegetables will rise this winter or else growers will “all go out of business”, a farmer has predicted. 

Soaring international energy prices mean that horticulturalists across Europe are struggling to pay their heating bills and many have warned that the growing costs will have to be passed onto consumers: 

“Natural gas would be the main source of heating and with the war in Ukraine, prices are just astronomical,” Matt Foley, a tomato grower from Dublin, told Newstalk.

“And there seems to be no let up there. Just looking at the prices for this winter, they’re frightening in fact.

“Up till now we’ve managed it. Most of us run very sophisticated computer programmes to manage our heating and we’ve tightened up on everything.” 

A man chooses tomatoes in a supermarket with a reusable bag in April 2020 in Thailand. A man chooses tomatoes in a supermarket with a reusable bag. Picture by: Elizaveta Galitckaia / Alamy Stock Photo

Mr Foley is a member of the horticultural committee of the Irish Farmers Association and says that some farmers have already had to cut back on what they grow: 

“There was a big shortage of tomatoes in the early summer this year for various reasons,” he continued. 

“But the main reason is the cost of production has risen and people can’t afford to grow them.” 

Winter

Things are only predicted to worsen this winter; heating costs spiral, more expensive fertiliser is needed and transport costs are expected to balloon. 

It is a bleak picture and Mr Foley predicts this it is a crisis that won’t go away anytime soon: 

“Until there’s some sort of a resolution to the war in Ukraine and there’s some sort of an ending to hostilities that allows the gas to flow again,” he added. 

“I’m amazed that people don’t seem to realise that Russia is conducting an economic war against all of western Europe.”

Main image: A basket of freshly picked strawberries. Picture by: Soeren Stache/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa