UK could see a rise in fruit, vegetables from Africa following Brexit

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18th August 2016 12:01 - FMCG

UK could see a rise in fruit, vegetables from Africa following Brexit: According to a survey of retailers in the United Kingdom, there could potentially be more fruit and vegetables imported from Africa, to the UK, as a result of the Brexit vote.UK could see a rise in fruit, vegetables from Africa following Brexit

As it stands, the European Union is the core source of food imports to the United Kingdom, with Member States being nine out of the 10 largest importers. However, the survey has revealed that approximately 1 in 3 retailers in the UK admitted that they are considering sourcing supplies from a different country, and a further 38 per cent anticipate that the UK will see more food imported from Africa.

The change was attributed to the decreasing value of the sterling, potential changes to EU tariffs and trying to reduce costs by sourcing outside the EU.

As well as Africa, future importers could potentially include Kenya, with the United Kingdom currently making up 25 per cent of its fresh produce exports, including peas, beans, flowers and more than 50 per cent of its tea exports.

In the last 20 years, the United Kingdom has become reliant on fruit and vegetable imports, with a self-sufficiency rate of only 58 per cent in vegetables and a further 11 per cent in fruit. The reliance has been largely driven by rises in imports of non-British foods such as avocados, melons and pineapples.

South Africa is currently the second largest importer of fresh fruit the United Kingdom, following Spain. Citrus growers in South Africa have expressed hope that the Brexit will be the end of the import tariffs.

Data from 2015 revealed that the Netherlands and Spain made up approximately 70 per cent of fresh vegetable imports from the United Kingdom. The data suggested that even a small shift to Kenya could provide a notable increase to its economic growth, with the agricultural industry accounting for 65 per cent of its total exports.

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