Looking ahead to 2022 – Ali Capper, Horticulture and Potatoes

First published: 20 December 2021

Ali Capper standing next to greenery

As 2021 draws to a close, your board Chairs look ahead to a new year. Ali Capper, Chair of the Horticulture and Potatoes board, considers what lies in store for 2022.

It is difficult to predict what the year ahead will bring for this sector. On the one hand we have the development of the National Food Strategy and an apparent desire by government to improve consumers’ health through increased consumption (and UK production) of fruit and veg.

We also have the development of new fiscal policies which should provide a catalyst for productivity and environmental improvements. Yet many of those policies are not easily accessible by horticulture businesses, and other government policies (such as immigration and trade) risk pulling the rug from under the sector.

Enabled, not undermined

While I will be stepping down as chair in March after six years in the post, and ten on the board, the NFU Horticulture and Potatoes priorities remain clear. We need a sector that is enabled, not undermined, by government and supply chain policies.

As I write, it is still unclear what level of commitment we will have on seasonal worker access in 2022 and beyond.

The NFU’s aim remains to secure a permanent scheme, expanded in both number and breadth, so that it serves the entire horticulture sector. We also continue to work collaboratively with Defra to minimise the costs and disruption from new border controls, to keep our supply chains functioning whilst maintaining biosecurity.

Making progress

Progress is already being made here. During 2022 we will be seeking to influence the development of a new UK horticulture productivity scheme (to replace the PO scheme) so that individual businesses and collaborative groups have access to matched funding that can drive productivity in the sector.

And we continue to look for opportunities to ensure the ELMS scheme and other financial packages are better suited to the horticulture sector than those that preceded them.

With retailer pressures continuing to increase, and a consistent drive to reduce prices, our sector also needs to be better equipped when negotiating with our customers. During 2022, the NFU will be looking to upskill its members to be better prepared when negotiating new agreements.

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query our NFU CallFirst will contact you and, if appropriate, your question will be passed on to one of our policy teams.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.