British tomato producers have warned that crippling fuel and fertiliser costs could put growers off commercial production in the UK.
Rising gas and oil bills have added millions of pounds to the cost of heating glasshouses and have sparked fears that producers on Jersey - where fuel import costs are higher and there is no CHP infrastructure - may quit. "We're not making a profit," admitted William Church, director of the Jersey Produce Marketing Organisation. "I'm certain growers are considering quitting."
There needed to be a 25% increase in the retail price to bring profitability back to the sector, he said.
The squeeze was being felt across the sector, added a spokesman for the British Tomato Growers' Association. "We need prices that reflect the freshness, food safety and nutrient content," he said.
Fewer than 20% of tomatoes sold in supermarkets were now produced in the UK, according to Defra.