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Sweet Deal for British Peas


The future of pea growing on some 150 East Anglian farms has been secured with the signing of a major new contract with a Kent-based frozen fruit and vegetable processor.

Ardo UK Ltd has struck a deal with Anglian Pea Growers, a local farmers cooperative, to take next years 14,800 tonne crop.

The move restores a 60-year tradition of pea growing in the area and will see around 3,500 hectares planted in the spring for harvest next summer. The contract is worth some 20,000 on average to each of the farmers taking part.

The deal will take UK pea production in 2011 up to 130,000 tonnes.

Ardo UK will be funding new pea preparation equipment at a site in Lowestoft and is also looking at investing in a new pea packing line at its Charing head office. The proposed investment and preparation contract will secure 38 jobs in Lowestoft.

East Anglian peas are an excellent product, grown to the highest standards, said Stephen Waugh, Managing Director of Ardo UK Ltd. We are delighted to secure this contract, which is very welcome news for both British farmers and consumers. The produce will be grown, prepared, packed and consumed within the UK, adding value at every stage.

We are confident that there will be strong demand from our customers for this quality British product and look forward to a lasting relationship with East Anglian growers.

Richard Hirst, Chairman of Anglian Pea Growers and himself a pea farmer, added: East Anglia has a long history of pea growing and is well known for the quality of its product. The deal with Ardo UK is very good news for our members and will bring back a valuable source of income to their farms following the loss of a major pea contract in 2010. Peas are a high value product and an integral part of the farming process as they serve to fix nitrogen in the soil and can be harvested in between other main crops.

The peas will be harvested from late June and then prepared and frozen within two and a half hours of being picked to ensure maximum flavour and vitamin-value is maintained. The peas will then be packed at Ardos premises in Kent ready for sale and distribution.

Ardo UK Ltd are part of the Belgian Ardo group that produce and market high quality frozen fruit, vegetables, rice and pasta to the retail, foodservice and industrial ingredients sectors. With 15 factories across 8 countries, Ardo is now the largest producer in its sector in Europe.

Anglian Pea Growers are a cooperative of 150 growers in Norfolk and Suffolk who are committed to high quality British pea production.

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