Key challenges remain for hort sector in 2023

17 January 2023

Martin Emmett

Martin Emmett

NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board chair

An image of Martin Emmett by a reservoir at his nursery

As the new year starts, NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board chair Martin Emmett reflects that key challenges remain for the sector.

I hope you all managed to get some rest and recuperation over the festive period, though I expect it already feels like a distant memory.

The start of 2023, as expected, hasn’t offered any respite from the multitude of challenges that the agriculture and horticulture sector is facing.

Good news on labour

We did end the year with good news on the number of visas available in the seasonal worker scheme (SWS), but we continue to push for the removal of the additional premium on the SWS wage and to secure a longer term commitment.

We’re also seeking a visa ‘reset’ so returnees from 2022 can come back sooner in 2023.

Our success in securing an annual expansion to the scheme has been down to the robust evidence that we continually provide. 

To this end, I would encourage you to fill out the End of Season labour survey which should be in your inbox very soon.  Thank you for your ongoing support.

Energy support is crucial

Securing future energy support is also a key priority so it is incredibly frustrating that primary producers of agricultural and horticultural products are not included in the list of ‘energy intensive’ sectors that will access the higher tier of government support from April.

The NFU is pushing back against this and making a case for horticulture, particularly for protected crops and sectors with significant storage requirements.

Board appointees sought

With so much still to do, I am grateful for the support of my fellow NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board members who so brilliantly represent your interests.

We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of members who put in countless hours interrogating the many issues we deal with and formulating a plan to address them.

Each year we launch an appointments process for the board where roughly half of the positions need to be filled.

The current application window is now open, so please take a look at the details of how to apply.

Looking forward to NFU Conference

Finally, I hope to see many of you at the NFU Conference in February. It looks to be a great programme with some important issues discussed.

I’m particularly looking forward to the Horticulture and Potatoes breakout session on day one where members will be able to take part in a mini negotiation workshop and hear from me and the NFU team about how we intend to influence the government’s horticulture growth strategy. Please do come along and take part.

More from NFUonline

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.