East Anglian pea growers secure new contract

Anglian Pea Growers has signed a major new contract, securing the future of pea growing on about 150 farms across Norfolk and Suffolk.

The co-op was dealt a blow in February 2010 after Birds Eye unexpectedly cancelled its contract.

But Kent frozen food company Ardo UK has struck a new deal with the group to take next year’s 14,800t crop.

The move will see around 3500 hectares planted in the spring for harvest next summer.

The contract is worth an average of £20,000 to each of the farmers taking part.

Richard Hirst, chairman of Anglian Pea Growers, said the deal was very good news for members and would bring back a valuable source of income to their farms.

“It has been a difficult few months, but the growers’ response has been fantastic. They have stuck with us and we’re all very pleased with the result.”

The deal will take UK pea production in 2011 up to 130,000t.

Ardo UK will be funding new pea preparation equipment at a site in Lowestoft and is also looking at investing in a new pea packing line at its Charing head office.

The proposed investment and preparation contract will secure 38 jobs in Lowestoft.

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