UK fresh produce self-sufficiency slipped further in 2016

Britain's fruit and vegetable production slipped back a further two percentage points last year, as imports rose sharply, the latest Defra figures show.

Image: HW
Image: HW

The overall value of fresh produce imports rose by nearly 15% on 2015's figure, to £5.98bn, knocking back UK self-sufficiency to 36.5%, according to Horticulture Statistics 2016.

Coincidentally, UK exports also rose by 15% last year, to £225m, but as these are worth just £1 for every £27 of produce imported, this has little bearing on the overall terms of trade.

Home production of vegetables fell in volume by 5.2% to 2.6 million tonnes, and contributed to 54.3% of the total UK supply in 2016, down from 56.9% in 2015,  and marking the lowest annual share on record.

The volume of home-grown fruit held steady at 777,000 tonnes, but this fell 3.8% in value to £670m due in part to a late start to the soft fruit season.

This contributed 17.3% of the total UK supply of fruit, slightly lower than in 2015, though here the overall trend has been broadly upward since the start of the century.

This figure was helped by UK-grown apples, which increased their share of the market to 41.5%, up from 38.9% in 2015.

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