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SCOTLAND’S SPECIALIST GROWERS GET ON WITH BUSINESS

Scotland’s specialist growers are working hard to put the devastating storms at the start of the week behind them and are sending out a clear message that they are open for business.

 

High winds and storms on Monday (23 May) wreaked havoc, causing considerable damage to the polytunnels that house much of Scotland’s soft fruit and nursery stock while ruining the plastic or protective fleece used to cover vulnerable vegetable crops.  As damage reports filter through, much of it uninsurable, it is already clear that hundreds of acres have been affected and the repair bill will run to several million pounds.

 

The Union is keeping Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead and his staff briefed on the extent of the damage and NFU Scotland Vice Presidents John Picken and Allan Bowie are visiting sites in Tayside this afternoon (Wednesday, 25 May) to see the damage first hand. 

 

Highlighting the scale of the problem, NFU Scotland’s Soft Fruit Working Group chairman, Peter Thomson, has seen 100 acres of polytunnels ruined on his soft fruit farm near Blairgowrie and is facing a repair bill of around £10,000 per acre on the sites worst affected.

 

But the clear message from the industry is that the damage is severe but repairable, plant nurseries are open and Scottish soft fruit and veg will be on shop shelves later this summer.

 

NFU Scotland Vice President Allan Bowie said:

 

“As feedback arrives into to our national and regional offices, it is clear that the damage done by Monday’s storm was considerable and the cost involved in rebuilding, replacing and repairing will be huge. Given that polytunnels are temporary structures, they are unlikely to have been insured and it is farm businesses that will be standing the cost of the repair bill.  

 

“Similarly, those growing crops under plastic or fleece will also have the costly and time-consuming task of gathering up ruined plastic and re-covering their plants.

 

“The key message for those who buy our produce and the general public is that the damage is repairable, this work is being done now and that disruption to supply should be minimal.

 

“The growth in Scotland’s soft fruit, nursery stock and vegetable sectors is a huge part of the nation’s success story on food and horticulture.  The combined output of Scottish horticulture is now worth more than £240 million each year and rising and that is something that Scotland’s specialist growers are rightly proud of. 

 

“The storms on Monday were a blow but nurseries will be open for business, vegetable growers are getting on with the job of getting their plants up and growing again and come peak fruit season this summer, there will still be plenty of Scottish strawberries and rasps to fill shop shelves.”   Ends

 

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 89/11


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