Vegetables & Fruits

Ardo Will Pay Farmers Higher Prices to Assure High-Quality Vegetables

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Heading into April and May of 2023, Ardooie, Belgium-headquartered Ardo reported the “impact of climate change on its agricultural activities is becoming more apparent than ever before,” and that the ongoing war in Ukraine has “created significant stress for farmers, who are struggling to afford fuel, fertilizers and other necessary resources due to skyrocketing prices and shortages.”

According to Europe’s leading producer and marketer of fresh-frozen vegetables, the 2022 season marked a turning point for many farmers and agronomists, who have come to realize that shifting weather patterns are causing a structural change in agriculture. The effects of extreme weather conditions have been felt across Europe – from Spain to Denmark and from Brittany to Austria – with crops of all kinds suffering significant damage. From peppers to peas, spinach to sweet corn, carrots to green beans, Brussels sprouts to parsley and chives, none have been immune to the negative impacts of climate change.

In the north of Europe, “plants were delayed due to a very hot and dry summer, resulting in a delay of over a month for root crops, cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts and leeks,” reported Ardo. “The smooth autumn conditions allowed for a fairly successful harvest until mid-December, when a killing frost destroyed many crops that had not yet been harvested.”

In the Iberian Peninsula, the situation was mixed, with the East (Castilla la Mancha) experiencing better production of winter broccoli and successful sowing of peas, while the West (Extremadura, Portugal) faced extreme drought followed by heavy rainfall, leading to flooded fields and destroyed broccoli crops.

“As we face the challenges of the coming years, it is clear that stocks will be low and reference yields will be lower, requiring us to contract more land for cultivation,” Ardo noted in a website post. “Farmers are also increasingly drawn to the stability and profitability of cereal crops, leaving less land available for vegetables and herbs.”

To address these challenges, the company is committed to paying its farmers up to 20% more (and even as much as 40% for some crops) and increasing the number of irrigated fields to mitigate the impact of climate change. These steps are necessary to ensure that it can continue to provide high-quality vegetables and herbs to customers and contribute to global food security in the face of difficult times.