Produce growers in sunny south Spain brace for Brexit pain

ALMERIA, Spain (AP) — A corner of southern Spain with a sunny desert climate sent about 314,000 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables last year to the United Kingdom, where shoppers are willing to pay more to have out-of-season produce on their tables.

Tomatoes, zucchini, watermelons, cucumbers and lettuce flourish in Spain’s southeastern Almeria province when northern Europe still faces weeks or months of winter shivers.

It is a business worth millions of euros every year to Spanish farmers, and Britain’s impending departure from the European Union could snatch a lot of it away.

By throwing up borders with the 27 countries remaining in the EU, Brexit could bring long waits for trucks at customs posts while their loads wither or rot.

The prospect of U.K. import tariffs and volatile exchange rates also is setting off alarms among farmers, workers and officials on the Mediterranean coast.  

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