I know I and many others have bemoaned the British Summer, or apparent lack of one, the rain, the rain and the floods caused by more rain. I know we have gone on and on about not being able to go out and have fun in the sun, the bemusing special offers of free BBQ recipe books being given out with national newspapers which are sold by newsagents who are suffering from flood damage.
We can all agree it’s been a bit wet, a damp squib, a shocker.
From a grower point of view, I don’t mind so much if my wife’s Nasturtiums have rotted in the soil, or if my daughter’s favourite Lillies have been ravaged by slugs. Of course I care, but I do get rather more upset when, as this past Sunday, I have to throw away or compost over half my Onion crop due to the weather. I hate finding a big juicy ripe Strawberry, only to find a slug got there first. I normally don’t object to cutting the grass at the plot or in the garden but whilst the rain has stopped many of us setting boot on the lawn for fear of drowning, the accompanying warmth has resulted in accelerated growth. Unfortunately, it also affected the weeds the same way.
All this though pales in comparison with a bigger issues only just beginning to hit the headlines: Farmers crops are also suffering.
Farmers, large scale food providers and animal fee suppliers as well as grain buyers, flour mills and seed houses are fearing that a poor harvest this season will have a knock on effect on next years stock piles and crops. If your Runner beans failed to germinate or rotted in the ground, or, if you managed to grow plants then lost them to slugs and snails and all things mollusc, that is a tragedy but you can try again next year. But if your seed supplier has a shortage of runner bean sees, not only will you miss out growing a few rows at home, but the national suppliers for supermarket, fresh food markets and green grocers will fall short.
Multiply that by all home grown produce and the picture becomes clearer.
Yes, the immediate and noticeable effect, in an already recession hit climate, would be higher food costs and higher import figures, weakening the pound. But the long term future, if this weather cycle continues, and I have little reason to believe it won’t, then we have a similar situation, if not for the same exact conditions, as the drought caused problems in Somalia, Ethiopia and other countries.
If we cannot grow plants to eat, we cannot grow seeds to grow plants to eat and cannot afford to keep importing every increasingly costly food supplies, we may hit levels of poverty not seen since rationing.
O.K., it’s late, it’s been a long wet summer and I’m maybe feeling stir crazy but, it’s not as far fetched a scenario is it really?