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Halloween horror over pumpkin prices

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 02:04

After one of the wettest summers on record for large parts of Europe the cost of food is set to rise. Wheat harvests are the worst since the 1980s and fruit and veg is in short supply. With halloween approaching it's a horror story for one vegetable - the humble pumpkin. Ivor Bennett reports

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With Halloween just three weeks away, this is no trick...or treat. The pumpkins at this English farm are a month behind schedule. And farmer Jonathan Smales is expecting yields to be 40% lower than last year. SOUNDBITE (English) JONATHAN SMALES, LYBURN FARM, SAYING: "It was terrible, absolutely terrible, to the point where we couldn't even drive a tractor in the field it was so wet. The fields were waterlogged. And then when it stopped raining it took 10 days to dry out. And then when it finally dried out, all the rain came back again." SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS REPORTER IVOR BENNETT, SAYING: "This summer was the second wettest on record, and the impact that's had on crops like pumpkins, is clear to see. Normally at this time of year they're big orange and how you'd expect them to look on Halloween - but a large chunk of this year's crop still isn't ripe." Pumpkins weren't the only washout. The National Famers Union has warned UK wheat yields are the lowest since the 1980s. Much of northern europe had similar weather. And that's on top of droughts in Russia and the US. With global grain prices up nearly 30%, Richard Dodd from the British Retail Consortium says it's a perfect storm. SOUNDBITE (English) BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM HEAD OF MEDIA, RICHARD DODD, SAYING: "Global commodity costs are a key element of what we end up paying in shops for things that we buy. Wheat is up enormously, so is soya, some other commodities as well. With fresh produce in short supply, British shoppers are already paying the price. Potatoes now cost double what they did last year - and greengrocer David Burgess says retailers are suffering too.. SOUNDBITE (English) LONG'S FARM SHOP, ROMSEY AREA MANAGER, DAVID BURGESS, SAYING: "We're not getting as much of a mark up on them as we did last year. But now customers are coming in that are used to pay 6 to 6.99 - how much is a bag of Wilja potatoes? 10.99. pulling a face and walking out." The same goes for pumpkins and other vegetables - with consumers in for a fright this Halloween and beyond. Ivor Bennett, Reuters

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Halloween horror over pumpkin prices

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 02:04

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