Click to contact us or call 02476 353537

Optimism for the UK horticulture industry despite a number of challenges, says NFU


The recent change of Government will present a number of opportunities and challenges for the horticulture industry NFU Director General Kevin Roberts will tell tomato growers today (Thursday).

Mr Roberts is one of the keynote speakers at the British Tomato Growers Association (TGA) annual conference in Coventry. He will tell delegates that although the Governments Spending Review will undoubtedly result in budget cuts at Defra, it is pleasing to see that farming and growing is back at the top of the agenda.

Mr Roberts said: The new Coalition Government has difficult choices to make on spending priorities. We have no knowledge of what is likely to be in the package of cuts. But our clear message to Defra ministers is, protect the horticulture sectors competitiveness. This is central to the challenge were all facing and the NFU will continue talking to and working with Government departments and agencies to ensure that whatever policies are implemented they enhance that competitiveness.

We urge the Government not to cut R&D and indeed increase the proportion of applied research. Clearly we see agricultural and horticultural research as the key to improving yields, productivity and returns in the future. The Structural Reform Plan includes implementing the Taylor Review on Scientific Research in Agriculture and we will press the Government to deliver on the reviews recommendations; remove barriers to investment, encourage private sector investment and promote the role of the levy boards.

The Fruit and Vegetable Taskforce has achieved a significant amount in the last 10 months and the key is to now maintain momentum and move forward with the implementation of the proposals as soon as possible. Measures being looked at are improving skills within the workforce, expanding market opportunities and improving relationships with the supply chain. These will all help drive consumption and improve competitiveness and are a step in the right direction.

However, one major challenge we all face is an increase in the local delivery of decision-making. Although this is attractive to farmers and growers it is essential that any localism policy should be led by robust planning guidelines.

I firmly believe the future for the horticulture industry is a bright one. The big problem is dealing with the spending cuts. But the message from our Why Horticulture Matters campaign still holds strong. The UK horticultural industry provides and will continue to provide many benefits and solutions to the issues and priorities of the 21st century.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * great opportunity to promote your business to our dedicated readership of farmers, landowners, estate managers and associated agricultural professionals.
Contact us today on 02476 353537 and let's work together to drive your business forward.