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Drought 'could lead to price rises'

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An MP has warned that the drought facing the country could lead to soaring food prices later in the year

An MP has warned that the drought facing the country could lead to soaring food prices later in the year

An MP has warned that the drought facing the country could lead to soaring food prices later in the year

The drought facing the country could lead to soaring food prices later in the year, a Tory MP has warned.

Dr Therese Coffey said the dry weather could push up food prices in the supermarkets as the cost of producing animal feed is likely to rise in the wake of the hot and dry weather.

Some farmers are even importing agricultural technology from as far afield as North Africa and Israel in order to harvest crops, she told the Commons.

Dr Coffey said that many rivers are already running dry, and added that she is "in no doubt water is the new oil".

She said farmers who would usually rely on taking water from rivers are already warning this might not be possible if the drought continues.

"This will come to impact upon every single person in this country," she said.

"One of the challenges that our farmers face is that one of the reasons for irrigation is to meet the quality standards that our supermarkets demand in terms of what they sell on their supermarket shelves.

"Also, the price we are prepared to pay for our food. This does not just impact on the cost of a potato or the cost of an onion or other similar foods to that.

"This is going to have an impact in terms of the feed for our livestock, the lack of forage, the lack of hay, will have repercussions next winter for which we will all start to pay a heavy price."

Agriculture minister Jim Paice said ministers and experts had met on Monday to discuss the drought's impact on the UK agricultural industry, and he said that while the situation is "serious", it is not yet as bad as the summer of 1976, the worst on record.

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