‘No one is going to starve’, says grower
LOCAL growers are still in the dark as to how Brexit will affect the Island’s food supplies, but representatives are in agreement that nobody is going to starve.
With Brexit Day of 31 October looming ever closer one of the chief concerns of the government is ensuring supplies of food continue to flow to Jersey to prevent price increases that would impact most on low income Islanders.
The greatest concern is over supplies of fresh foods, such as fruit and vegetables imported from southern Europe, if trade barriers are imposed as a result of no deal Brexit.
Christine Hellio of Manor Farm, who with her husband Didier won this year’s Pride of Jersey Ambassador of the Year Award, said that what the exact outcome will be remains a mystery but she was certain that there will be enough food supplies for all Islanders.
‘It’s a case of wait and see what happens with Brexit. No one really knows how we are going to be affected but I’m confident that no one is going to starve,’ she said.
‘Even if we don’t have the huge range and supply of food that we do now, we still grow winter vegetables here so there will be some supplies.
‘But we do not grow enough food on the Island to be self-sufficient in the long-term and we will need to keep importing food.’
She added that she feels continental growers will find a way to continue to export their crops to the British market, as they have done for years.
‘I really don’t think that farmers in the south of France and Spain, who export things like tomatoes and fruit to the UK in winter, are going to want their crops to go to waste,’ she said.
‘I just can’t see that happening and I think they will work something out. It might take a few weeks to get things sorted but they will do it.’
Charlie Gallichan of Woodside Farm, Jersey’s largest grower, said that he was also unable to say what impact Brexit would have on food supplies.
‘Anyone who says that they know what is going to happen is lying. No one really knows what the consequences are going to be,’ he said.
‘I know that a lot of people, like Condor Ferries, are working very hard in preparation for Brexit to make sure supply chains are not disrupted.
‘Really there’s not a lot we can do as growers other than what we usually do. It would take time to grow any additional crops, so we won’t be able to increase the supply of food in time.
‘But we have plenty of supplies of staple foods, like carrots, onions, cauliflowers and leeks. It’s the more interesting and exotic stuff which might be more difficult to get hold of.’