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More peas, please! Extra 1,000 tonnes must be grown in East Anglia to meet rising demand

Anglian Peas Growers has won a contract to grow an extra 1,000 tonnes of peas from harvest 2019 onwards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Anglian Peas Growers has won a contract to grow an extra 1,000 tonnes of peas from harvest 2019 onwards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

An extra 1,000 tonnes of peas need to be grown in East Anglia to meet rising consumer demand – sparking a search for more farmers to grow them.

Anglian Pea Growers' fleet of pea harvesters at work in Norfolk. Picture: Chris HillAnglian Pea Growers' fleet of pea harvesters at work in Norfolk. Picture: Chris Hill

Anglian Pea Growers (APG), a 110-strong producer network spanning an area between east Norfolk and north Suffolk, has secured an additional contract to supply the extra tonnage of green peas and petit pois from our region to the freezing facility in Oulton Broad.

The additional contract with Belgian processor Ardo Group is in response to the firm’s increasing demand from consumers, which will see the total amount of vining peas processed at the site increase to almost 14,000 tonnes from 2019 harvest onwards.

While there is an opportunity for existing growers to increase their area, they may be restricted by their crop rotation, said APG – so the group is seeking to recruit new members on a mixture of soil types in the east of the region, stretching from Stalham to the north of Ipswich.

APG chairman Richard Hirst, who farms at Ormesby near Great Yarmouth, said “ We are extremely encouraged by the confidence that Ardo has shown in APG, and in this region, to be able to increase production in line with the growing demand for British peas grown for their customer base.

Vining peas ready for harvest in north Suffolk. Picture: Chris HillVining peas ready for harvest in north Suffolk. Picture: Chris Hill

“We have been able to identify some additional area for this season but we are interested to hear from any potential new growers to help us meet this demand.”

The administration for APG is undertaken by the business administration team at the Norwich office of land and property agency Brown and Co.

Andrew Fundell, partner and agricultural business consultant at the firm, said: “With businesses attempting to identify an alternative spring break crop, especially following the relatively poor performance of spring beans in 2018, vining peas are certainly worthy of consideration.

“With timely ground clearance, they offer an excellent entry for wheat and provided the land can be prepared in good condition for establishment, combined with diligent vermin control, the yields achievable make them an excellent gross margin in the rotation.”

• Farmers interested in growing peas for the group should contact APG general manager Andy Beech on 07899 064446 or andy.beach@anglianpeagrowers.co.uk.

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