At the NFU Conference this week, the Horticulture and Potatoes board announced the development of its growth strategy, setting out the NFU’s goals for increasing profitability in the sector up to 2020.
The NFU has met a number of retailers and food service companies in recent weeks and believes the tide is slowly turning. ‘Retailers, packers and processors are starting to understand, more than ever before, the importance of collaborating with growers. So, now is the time to seize this opportunity and influence the development of stronger relationships so that this industry can grow.’
At the breakout session, Guy presented the board’s strategic aims, setting out in more detail the key issues that the board will look to address.
‘The plan sets out our work under 3 main pillars: meeting the needs of a changing consumer marketplace; ensuring fair, transparent and secure returns through the supply chain; and making sure we have positive cross-Government policy that helps the industry,’ he said.
Underpinning the strategic aims is a detailed action plan which includes a full review of the current marketplace to understand what the most important issues are for our members, and to develop case studies that demonstrate good and bad practice. Leading from this, the board will take its key lobbying messages to the supply chain and to government, calling for greater collaboration to help the sector grow. Of particular importance is the need for the industry to work together to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables and to educate consumers on the benefit of higher consumption as well as the health and wellbeing benefits obtained from plants and flowers.
‘The NFU will be looking for greater collaboration between marketing organisations, as well as calling for more action by retailers and government to promote the health benefits of fruit and veg consumption and the reasons for supporting British. Similarly, we will be looking for an increase in activity in educating consumers on the health and wellbeing benefits of plants and flowers,’ Poskitt said.
In addition to the Horticulture and Potatoes growth plan, Guy listed the top five manifesto asks for the sector leading up to the general election. While by no means comprehensive, these were identified as the top five issues out of the 48 identified in the NFU’s election manifesto.
Concluding his presentation at the breakout session, Guy said, ‘The production of fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers is vital not only to our economy and our landscape, but fundamentally to the health and wellbeing of the nation. It should be a key objective among producers, their customers and government to ensure this industry builds on its strengths and shares a strategy for growth.
Horticulture and Potatoes – Manifesto asks
Comprehensive plan to grow UK food production over the next Government’s term, reversing long-term decline in UK self-sufficiency. For horticulture, we ask Government to support efforts to increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, potatoes and plants to improve the nutrition, health and well-being of the nation.
Government science funding rebalanced to acknowledge the critical importance of applied research to tackle production challenges and encourage growth.
Government introduces a seasonal labour scheme open to students from outside the EU to undertake seasonal harvest work on UK farms. Government to also fully recognise how seasonal workers from existing EU countries are an essential part of the workforce currently underpinning the UK horticulture and potatoes industry.
For Government to commit to working with industry to take forward the Ornamentals Roundtable Action Plan, to create a 5-year roadmap to deliver on the actions and enable a thriving, productive and profitable British ornamentals sector to realise its potential for growth by 2020.
Ensure that Defra’s reform of the water abstraction licensing regime delivers an adequate supply of water to meet the increasing demand for UK-grown foods, such as fruit and vegetables, and ornamental plants.