Ornamentals sector to tackle risk

A new report has been launched aimed at building a more profitable ornamentals supply chain to help the industry grow, invest and flourish despite challenging conditions.

BPOA logo The ornamentals sector is worth £1billion at farmgate but the British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA), the NFU and West Sussex Growers Association say the high-risk, low-reward industry is suffering from diminishing profitability, escalating costs and increased uncertainty in the face of extreme weather conditions.

It is hoped that the Code of good trading practice for plants and flowers will help suppliers and customers to create mutually advantageous working relationships that meet market requirements and customer needs and demands, and will help establish contractually agreed standards of fair and acceptable behaviour.

NFU Vice President Adam Quinney said: “This is about putting into place some very basic contractual relationships so that both suppliers and their customers know where they stand. It is not about growers versus retailers, or about putting biased arrangements in place.

“It is about transparency and the commitment needed to create an ornamentals supply chain that is profitable for everyone in it, and that encourages investment to ensure a sustainable future for this sector.”

BPOA chairman Ian Riggs said: “We have now had three bad years in a row that have had serious impacts on the industry, despite a relatively good summer. This is amid a backdrop of rising costs and increasing risk for the country’s growers.

“This needs to stop. Already this year, we’ve seen catastrophic impacts on growers of pansies, primroses and other bedding plants, because of a mixture of wet and cold weather, poor consumer demand and cancelled retail orders. Sadly, some did not make it through and we must do all we can to ensure a more inclusive, responsible approach to supply chain relationships. And this code of practice is a stepping stone to both that and a thriving British ornamentals sector.”