With 17 per cent of growers failing to turn any profit in 2011/12 and a further 44 per cent of horticulture businesses making less than £30,000 the NFU’s horticulture and potatoes board has set out an ambitious agenda for growth in 2013. It hopes this will create a fairer balance of risk and reward in the supply chain and create a science and regulatory framework that backs production horticulture.
NFU horticulture and potatoes board chairman Sarah Dawson said: “As we emerge from one of the worst seasons in living memory, with balance sheets to match, our vision and optimism for the horticulture and potatoes sector is extremely upbeat. There is huge potential for British growers to increase production, displace imported produce and meet the growing consumer demand for high quality, traceable, British food. But meeting that potential is going to require some significant changes in the way that the supply chain operates and some bold, fresh policy thinking from government.
“Top of our list are securing a successor to the SAWS scheme, getting some sense injected into the Government’s ailing implementation of planning policy and achieving ground-breaking advancements in supply chain relationships between growers and retailers.
“With growers holding out so much hope for a better and brighter 2013, the expectation placed on the board by our members is quite rightly higher than ever. In setting out our priorities and identifying actions for enabling success we are confident that we can deliver growth and make our vision a reality. It might not be easy, it might not be quick, but we are firmly committed to delivering in these crucially important areas before the face of horticulture in this country changes irrevocably.”