Speed Reading — Vegetable Shortages - Level 4 — 200 wpm

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Shoppers in the United Kingdom (U.K.) are having to hunt around to find supplies of fruit and vegetables. Britain's major supermarkets are rationing produce like cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes amid shortages from suppliers. The big chains have cited various reasons for the shortfall in supply that has left shelves bare in green-grocery aisles. Britain's biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, has limited purchases of certain vegetables to three per customer. Tesco attributed its shortages to adverse weather overseas. In particular, it said a drought in Morocco had led to poor yields. Tesco assured customers it was working day and night to "get things back to normal".

Other factors are being blamed for the rationing. Britain's farmers' union said higher energy costs meant it was no longer financially viable for many growers to operate. It also said a tomato disease has wiped out a lot of crops across northern Europe. Industry analyst James Walton said Brexit has played a part in distribution problems. He said: "The EU accounts for much of the UK's import volume. If there are shortfalls in production in the EU, then it makes sense for EU producers to serve their local demand first. This leaves less available for export to the U.K." Many shoppers are perplexed at seeing photos on social media of supermarket shelves across Europe, and in war-torn Ukraine, laden with fresh produce.

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