Strawberry growers at risk of going bust
SCORES of smaller strawberry farmers risk going out of business if the harsh weather continues.
The warning comes after two years of wet and cold weather have devastated farm incomes nationwide.
Wexford grower Peter Donnellan said the cold start to the year has doubled the cost of keeping glasshouses at the correct temperature for strawberry growth.
"At the start of the year we budgeted it would cost €30,000 per glasshouse for early crop," he told the Irish Independent. "This has actually cost €60,000 in reality.
"If we have a repeat of last year, where we saw a very wet June and July, farmers will be under serious pressure. You will see smaller growers going out of business."
Mr Donnellan, who is responsible for producing one-fifth of all strawberries in Irish supermarkets, said: "If you lose a week's trading, you won't make that back up. It's going to put huge pressures on sales this summer."