Wimbledon 2010 Without Strawberries?

by Rajshri on  February 21, 2010 at 9:59 AM General Health News   - G J E 4
 Wimbledon 2010 Without Strawberries?
In what is a matter of great concern, a key ingredient could be in short supply at this year's Wimbledon-Scottish strawberries.

According to The Scotsman, about a quarter of the UK's soft fruit is produced in Scotland.

Experts have warned that hundreds of thousands of strawberry plants have been killed by frost.

Some farmers have had to spend as much as 90,000 pounds replacing dead crops. There have been warnings the difficult season could result in higher prices on supermarket shelves - or possibly even a shortage of supply.

Peter Thomson, chairman of the soft fruit committee at the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), said: "Some growers are reporting that whole fields have been damaged and will have to be replaced."

The problem has mainly hit strawberries grown in grow-bags, rather than directly in the soil, he said.

He said that as the frost falls on to the plant, the top part, known as the crown, turns black and dies.

Thomson said even one hectare of lost strawberry crops can mean the farmer has to replace about 50,000 plants, each costing about 30 pence.

Rupert Hargreaves, whose company Hargreaves Plants supplies more than 30 million strawberry and soft fruit plants to growers around Europe, said: "It would be fair to say that if the market ends up being short of fruit then we could realistically see an increase in price."

His company is working flat out to try to replace plants killed by frost.

He warned that the market supply of soft fruit plants was "as tight as it has ever been so there's likely to be a shortage of plant material".

This could mean delays to the production of strawberries in some areas, he said.

Another grower, who did not want to be named, said it could actually be a slow year for strawberries because of people giving up luxuries during the recession, and because it is a World Cup year.

Scotland is renowned across the world for its soft fruit production, with growth centered around Tayside, Perthshire and Fife.

The Scottish raspberry sector alone is worth about Ģ12 million annually.

Source: ANI

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