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Kent farmer who works with Ribena says wet weather won't dampen their blackcurrant harvest


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A farmer from Kent who works with Ribena insists he's confident the annual blackcurrant harvest "will be as big as ever" despite recent wet weather this summer.

Growers from across the country crop nearly 10,000 tonnes of the fruit, with this week marking the start of the annual Ribena blackcurrant harvest.

Nick and Ian Overy of Nursery Farm in Matfield, Kent, as they begin the harvesting of Ribena's blackcurrants at their farm for 2021. Picture supplied by Good Relations
Nick and Ian Overy of Nursery Farm in Matfield, Kent, as they begin the harvesting of Ribena's blackcurrants at their farm for 2021. Picture supplied by Good Relations

It is already in full swing at Nursery Farm, Matfield, as the much-loved berries have been unaffected by unseasonal weather patterns – in part due to the pioneering work of Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I which has now developed new varieties of climate-resilient blackcurrants.

Nursery Farm is run by father and son Ian and Nick Overy.

The dismal summer has continued into this week, with flood alerts and weather warnings for thunderstorms issued across part of the county yesterday.

Nick said: "The unpredictable weather we’ve been experiencing has made a tough year for farmers even more challenging.

"Thankfully, the blackcurrant breeding programme helps to mitigate the worst impacts of the weather and ensures the future of our berries is more sustainable.

Nick Overy insists he's confident the annual blackcurrant harvest "will be as big as ever" despite recent wet weather. Picture supplied by Good Relations
Nick Overy insists he's confident the annual blackcurrant harvest "will be as big as ever" despite recent wet weather. Picture supplied by Good Relations

"Despite a late harvest, I’m confident that our yield will be as big as ever."

Producing 90 per cent of Britain’s blackcurrant crop, the soft drinks company – based in Gloucestershire – has supported the development of new breeds of blackcurrants at the world’s leading plant research centre, the James Hutton Institute.

The 20-year partnership, funded by a £10m investment, has looked at the long-term effects of climate change and resulted in the development of crops that are able to withstand the uncertain weather conditions we are currently seeing.

Harriet Prosser, agronomist at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, said: “Farming can be a challenging occupation, and lack of climate certainty and extreme weather events are making it even harder.

"The Ribena blackcurrant breeding programme has produced some fantastic new varieties, which are allowing our growers to buck the trend and produce excellent quality fruit despite the weather.

The dismal summer weather has continued into this week, with flood alerts and weather warnings for thunderstorms already having been issued. Picture supplied by Good Relations
The dismal summer weather has continued into this week, with flood alerts and weather warnings for thunderstorms already having been issued. Picture supplied by Good Relations

"These new climate-resilient varieties will ensure our customers can enjoy our great tasting Ribena for many years to come.”

For all the forecasts, warnings and weather related news, click here.

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