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Pea shortage predicted in Britain after hot weather spell
Read:214  Update Time:2018-08-27  

shortage of peas is feared in Britain as recent hot weather means they cannot form in their pods.

The dry, warm climate has meant fewer pods and smaller peas are being produced as they do not have enough water to fully grow.

It is also proving the perfect breeding ground for specific types of bugs, such as the pea moth and bruchid beetle, which feed on both peas and beans at this time of year, causing further problems for pea stocks.

The UK is the largest producer of peas for freezing in Europe - producing 150,000 tonnes of them a year - and is 90 per cent self sufficient.

In 2016/17 approximately 8,652 tonnes of peas were exported from the UK to countries within the EU.

Growers have already harvested around 30 per cent of the season’s pickings, but are concerned that the remaining stock cannot be saved, even with high levels of rainfall predicted with the imminent arrival of Storm Chris.

The tropical storm is expected in the UK by the weekend and could become a hurricane, bringing heavy amounts of wind and rain.

August and September are usually prime time for picking peas, but many growers are likely to harvest their peas earlier rather than risk further heat damage.

Stephen Francis, MD of frozen supplier Fen Peas, told The Grocer: "It's too late to rescue a lot of our peas, they overexerted themselves searching for water that's not there.

"All of our locations are harvesting below average. If we have rainfall now it wouldn't be able to reverse the effects."

One positive side effect of the soaring temperatures has meant smaller garden peas and petits pois are said to be of a higher quality and better tasting than normal because of the extra sunshine.

While peas are thought to be the most widely affected by the hot weather, particularly the marrowfat and split green varieties, harvesters of other crops are also facing challenging times.

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