LONDON, ENGLAND — Reduced wheat planting last October is forecast to produce UK’s worst harvest in 40 years and a potential spike in prices of flour and bread, Sky News reported, citing the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
Heavy rain during the wheat planting season allowed for only 40% of the average amount of wheat to be planted. While wheat quality is now suffering from droughts earlier in the season, the NFU said.
Wheat millers also are concerned the World Trade Organization will impose tariff on wheat imports if a trade agreement is not 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. This creates a lot of uncertainty for the milling industry as to how to cover off the exposure … That £79 a tonne cannot be absorbed by the milling industry so it will be passed onto the baker and the consumer if it is added.”
UK’s decreased wheat harvest and low wheat quality is expected to take its toll on the baking industry looking for high-quality flour without passing increased expenses onto customers.
Henry Herbert, from Hobbs House Bakery in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, told Sky News, “If that means we have to get flour from the continent or Canada we will do so, we will work with our miller to make sure we get the right quality flour. 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.”