Countryfile: How climate change is affecting potato growth
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Many watching Countryfile on Sunday night claimed it was sparking another “panic buying crisis” as Tom Heap detailed how there were fewer potatoes were making it into supermarkets because of climate change impacting their growth. He spoke to a potato expert and farmer who explained many potatoes were being left in fields to rot or giving to livestock as food.
“Weird things are happening to the infamous British weather,” Tom began.
“If you were complaining about that heatwave in July you were right, it was hotter than usual and triggered the first amber warning for extreme heat from the Met Office.
“And get this for a statistic, for the first time since 1884, the 10 hottest years have all been this century and we’re only 21 years in.”
he continued: “We’re not the only ones sweating. The humble spud can’t take the heat either.
“Ironically, the worst thing for a potato is being a hot potato. Potatoes are a core part of our diet. Brits love spuds.
“We consume about 85 kilos a year, each That’s more than the Americans.
“If climate change is affecting this staple it really shows how it is beginning to bite.”
Tom went on to speak to potato expert Cedric Porter who tracks the global spud market each week.
He explained to Tom how the temperatures across Europe matched high climates in America which had an impact on the crops in 2021.
Cedric said: “We had a very cold start to the season and then we had a mini heat wave and had a lot of rain in some periods in May. But that really pales in comparison to some other parts of the world.”
Cedric explained how potatoes are the fourth largest crop in the world and was facing plenty of trouble.
Tom added yields of potatoes were down globally by at least 10 percent and farmers are already seeing the impact of climate change.
One farmer explained how their crop was not big enough before detailing how some didn’t meet the quality controls for potatoes to be sold in supermarkets.
He said the majority of his potatoes were under the 65mm requirement to be put into packs with many left to rot in fields.
Those tuning in took to Twitter to slam the negative coverage insisting more should be done to help farmers or change rules so more potatoes make it to supermarkets.
Tony Evans commented: “Tom and Dr Spud just started the next panic buying crisis #countryfile.”
Richard Cooper added: “Best start panic buying chips #countryfile.”
Mac tweeted: “Utter b*llocks let’s get the public panic buying frozen chips the @bbc never mention the great beer shortage #Countryfile.”
Andrew Peterson shared: “Stupid rules about the size of potatoes. This is what’s so stupid. Why does everything have to get bigger and bigger? Tell you slick marketing has a lot to answer for. #Countryfile.”
“Who says potatoes have to be a particular size? Why? #countryfile,” Kim Spencer asked.
Countryfile continues Sunday on BBC One at 5.10pm.
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