4 April 1997

Cornish veg a disaster

TRADITIONAL west Cornwall crops of winter cauliflower and spring greens have been a financial disaster, growers claim.

They blame a combination of bad weather, the strong £ and excessive buying power of supermarkets. Helston grower Mark Pascoe says frost damage meant there were no crops in December. "Then we had part crops which survived, and then a lot of caulis came ready all at once, and with a lot also being imported the price collapsed. We have had 20p-23p, occasionally 25p," he adds.

Bad weather losses on cauliflower are normally compensated by higher prices for surviving crops and for substitute spring greens. But increased cauliflower imports, and plentiful supplies of greens, have meant prices have been low and greens are being ploughed in.

Mr Pascoe says the financial risk in these crops is becoming so great that two bad years in a row could finish smaller growers. &#42