Fears spud shortage brought on by climate change will cause prices to skyrocket

Brits may soon have had their chips, ­according to Met Office boffins.

Scientists say predicted climate change temperature rises will lead to an increase in late potato blight – an incurable fungal disease that thrives in warm and flooding.

That could create a shortage, which in turn will send prices of chips and crisps rocketing.

The study by Dr Freya Garry – published in the Climate Risk Management journal – states: “Food for cattle, crops for humans, and potato growing will all be threatened by increased drought in the future, which we tend to experience when we have particularly hot dry summers.

“Given the potentially serious consequences for UK farming, we felt it was appropriate to work with a high impact scenario.

“Even under lower emission pathways, we know that our climate will continue to change, so even if the impacts are smaller than in this study, our study provides useful information for planning.’’

In 2019, a 3% reduction in the UK potato crop in key areas due to flooding triggered a 9% rise in prices. Crisp and chip manufacturers had to pay an extra £12.05 per tonne for their spuds.

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The prices of Hula Hoops, McCoy’s and Tyrrells – owned by KP Snacks – rose by 9%, 9.6% and 21.9% respectively in a year, according to The Grocer.

Dairy farms may also be affected by climate change, with heat stress in cattle projected to increase in key regions in the UK, affecting south western England most.

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