Meet the two new appointees to the Horticulture and Potatoes Board - Emily Cliff and Phil Pearson.
'I am the Fruit Manager at Lower Hope Fruit Ltd, Herefordshire part of the Lower Hope Estate. The Fruit department grows cherries, raspberries and apples and we also have a soft and stone fruit packhouse. I joined Lower Hope in 2011, before that I was on the Berrygardens Growers Graduate scheme working in placements in different soft fruit farms with management training from MDS. I have also recently finished my term as the Chairman of the Under 40s Fruit Growers for a 2 year tenure, culminating in a study tour to Chile. I am on the AHDB Tree Fruit Panel which I joined in 2018. Key challenges for the sector are labour supply, production costs and efficiencies, plant protection approvals and how to implement innovation and technology.'
Phil Pearson is the Group Development Director for APS Produce, who are the largest supplier of British tomatoes in the UK, with glasshouse nurseries in Cheshire, Kent, the Isle of Wight, Elloughton and Teeside.
Phil has been the driving force for innovation in the business, which has led to the development of new technologies including:
- Combined Heat & Power with CO2 extraction
- Ground Source cooling / irrigation warming
- Novell Anaerobic Digestion technology developed to turn waste leaves and tomatoes into:
- Transport fuel
- Irrigation water
- Cellulose packaging to replace plastic
- Automation and robotics
Phil is driven to improve the sustainability of British tomato production, and this was the inspiration for many of the projects listed above. As a Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture and the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the British Tomato Growers’ Association he has been involved with the implementation of many new technologies in the UK Tomato industry.
A desire to be involved has also led to work with DEFRA, BEIS and other Government departments. Phil also works closely with the AHDB, on behalf of the British Tomato industry.