British Herb Trade Conference a huge success

by Tim Mudge

Varied programme delights new BHTA Chairman

Members of the BHTA, researchers and academics gathered near Guildford for the 2014 BHTA Conference. The event, at Barnett Hill Hotel, attracted nearly fifty attendees from the trade, Universities and associated industries.

Joanna Niziolomski from Cranfield University spoke about the challenges of maintaining soil health in sustainable intensification. Eleanor Long discussed the often thorny subject of pesticide residues in fresh herbs and how to translate lab results effectively. Jon Grover from Wilde Design looked at generic marketing across sectors and how to cope with the issues that raises. The final hour of the morning session was given by Jonathan Bowder of Rogen Si who looked at how businesses can breakthrough to innovation by applying themselves to solve problems by thinking outside of the box.

The afternoon session began with a fascinating look at the identification and analysis of the flavours and aromas of herbs and how this work may help with future development of products. This was given by Professor Ray Marriott of Bangor University and Life Member of the BHTA. The final, members only, section of the programme focused on the work of the BHTA. Dr Tom Davies gave an overview of the work of the technical committee from the past twelve months. This is much valued by companies involved with the BHTA and provides a firm foundation for the organisation. To end the day the AGM took place where Nigel Stangroom took over from Fiona Lamotte as Chairman. Finally Chris Nye of CN Seeds stood down from the BHTA Council after more than twenty years and was presented with decanter as a token of appreciation for the time he has dedicated to the association.

New Chairman, Nigel Stangroom, commented “The BHTA remains a key part of the herb industry in the UK. Today’s excellent attendance, and quality speakers, proves that we continue to attract the best of the best. The BHTA Council is evolving and we are looking at our future strategy in the next twelve months. I would also like to thank Chris Nye for his many years of hard work and welcome Charles Seddon from CN seeds onto the Council.”