20 January 1999
Veg prices stoke UK inflation

By FWi staff

A SURGE in vegetable prices pushed inflation past the Governments target last month – to 2.6% against the target of 2.5%.

The sudden surge in the price of fresh vegetables, especially potatoes, was held responsible.

Wet weather has hit crops of potatoes driving prices up from 18p per half killogram to 38p in the year to December.

Average farm prices are now £179 a tonne against £78 at the same time last year, according to the British Potato Council.

The benchmark March potato LIFFE futures contract surged to more than £310 in November after the wet weather first hit the crops in the UK and Europe.

The Financial Times reports farmers having difficulty getting the crop out of the ground.

The supply problem in the UK is compounded by similar difficulties encountered by farmers in the Netherlands and the rest of northern Europe.