Growers upbeat after bleak 2012
GROWERS are hoping for a change in fortunes this season after statistics revealed 17 per cent failed to turn any profit last year.
NFU figures also show 44 per cent of horticulture businesses made less than £30,000 in 2011/12, after the second wettest year on record.
But the union’s horticulture and potatoes board is certain the gloomy outlook will not be replicated in 2013 and has set out an ambitious agenda for growth.
It hopes this will create a fairer balance of risk and reward in the supply chain and create a ‘science and regulatory framework which backs production horticulture’.
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.”
The Board said the potential could only be reached if ‘significant’ changes were made to how the supply chain operates.
Mrs Dawson added bold and fresh policy thinking from Government was also required.
“Top of our list are securing a successor to the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (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,” she added.