A potential spike in flour and bread prices has been forecast due to potentially the UK’s worst wheat harvest in 40 years caused by reduced planting in October 2019.
Sky News reports that torrential rain during last years wheat planting season allowed for only 40 per cent of the average amount of wheat to be planted. The National Farmers Union has also tasted that wheat quality is also suffering from droughts earlier in the season.
Wheat millers have aired concerns that the World Trade Organisation may impose tariffs on wheat imports if a trade agreement is not reached and secured.
Joe Lister, of Shipton Mill in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, told Sky News, “In the event of a no-deal Brexit, millers could face a £79-per-tonne tariff on wheat imports from the EU as the UK would be reverting to WTO rules.”
He added that there was a lot of uncertainty for the milling industry as to cover the exposure and that £79 a tonne is too high to be absorbed by millers, with means it will be passed on to the baker and consumer, should it be added.
UK’s decreased wheat harvest and low wheat quality are expected to take its toll on the baking industry needing high-quality flour, without passing increased expenses onto customers.
Henry Herbert, from Hobbs House Bakery in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire said that bakers will work with millers to ensure the right quality of flour, but should it mean importing flour from the EU or Canada, then that is what will happen.
“If the wheat harvest is terrible it would affect us to a certain extent, price-wise, because it’s the main ingredient in our product but we try to take a long-term view — if it goes up it will come down — so we can try to keep prices the same,” he concluded.
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