Fruit and veg shortage could last weeks as storms hit Spain and north Africa

A fruit and veg shortage on shop shelves across the UK could last weeks, as stormy weather disrupts the harvest at farms in Spain and north Africa.

Production of tomatoes, strawberries and peppers across the region has been hit by ‘difficult weather conditions’, the British Retail Consortium said.

It has led to ‘desolate’ fresh food sections in supermarkets in recent days.

And the situation is unlikely to improve soon, as snow storms, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms cause havoc on production.

The Morrisons store at the Gyle in Edinburgh was one of the places affected, with a sign telling customers: ‘Availability across our tomato range has been significantly impacted by adverse weather conditions across Spain and Morocco.

‘The current shortage is likely to improve within a couple of weeks.’

One unhappy customer at the Tesco in Dalmarnock, Glasgow, wrote on social media: ‘Rising prices are bad enough but lack of basic foodstuffs is unacceptable.’

Another wrote: ‘Been to 2-3 different supermarkets over the last few days and veg aisles look desolate, particularly salad veg.’

Andrew Opie, the director of food at the BRC, said: ‘Difficult weather conditions in the south of Europe and northern Africa have disrupted harvest for some fruit and vegetables including tomatoes.

‘However, retailers are adept at managing supply chain issues and are working with farmers to ensure that customers are able to access a wide range of fresh produce.’

In 2021, the World Health Organisation warned that more frequent extreme weather due to climate change will disrupt global food systems.

A report said the crisis could undo 50 years of progress in health and reducing poverty, with the impact on agriculture one of the main challenges.

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