I have been amazed at the price of pumpkins this year in the supermarkets. From as little as 75 pence each.
This led me to thinking how are the farmers making any money out of selling them to supermarkets.
First consider what goes into growing a pumpkin.
The soil must be prepared, requiring manure and compost, seeds are planted in late spring and may be planted by hand. Bees are required to pollinate otherwise this must be done by hand. Whilst growing they need watering and feeding and to be protected from rotting and slugs. They also need their own space. Harvesting is by hand. In the mean time some may have been stolen.
So after all the time and effort that has gone into growing the pumpkin will it meet the supermarket’s standard. Is it the right shape, is it free of blemishes, is it of a uniform colour, is it big enough?
Then it has to be delivered to the supermarket, offloaded, stored, then put out in the supermarket. On top of all that are the costs incurred by the supermarket, advertising the price of the pumpkin, the cost of storage, the cost of running the supermarket etc.
All for as little as 75 pence. How much do you think the farmer is getting for this pumpkin?
Would you personally go through all that to earn a small proportion of 75 pence? Or do you think it is worth a little bit more than that, even double, triple or more?
Maybe you go to the source, taking your children to the farmer’s field to pick pumpkins, put them in the wheel barrow and find you are buying 6 pumpkins and 6 small squashes for £24 (that doesn’t include the wheel barrow).
The farmer is trying to make a profit. For this venture some costs incurred will be advertising, printing, wheel barrows, insurance, labour, extra bank charges incurred if accepting and banking cash, travel to the bank to deposit the cash.
So the plight of workers in sweatshops abroad has been highlighted and the fair price of a pint of milk for our dairy farmers has made the news. What about the plight of our pumpkin farmers?