Vegetable growers have made an impassioned plea to retailers for support in the aftermath of the flooding which devastated the pea crop last month.

If supermarket buyers turned to imports in order to keep the lid on shelf prices, it would undermine the British vegetable growing industry, they warned.

"The past seven weeks and the dry April have tested us to the full," said NFU horticulture board chairman Richard Hirst. "If retailers are truly committed to supporting UK growers, now is the time to show their commitment by continuing to buy British."

Shortages of British-grown crops such as peas, brassicas and carrots have been reported but there has not yet been any upward movement on prices. "Prices don't seem to follow the market any more - there's a delayed reaction," said Tim Mudge, chairman of the Processed Vegetable Growers' Association.

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