Implications of the Brexit vote from EU on Horticulture

by Jack Ward

Here at British Growers we provide the administration for 8 and soon to be 9 POs so the future for POs has been at the forefront of our thinking for the past few weeks. We have recognition programmes which anticipate funding for the next 5 years due to be submitted later this month. We have growers looking to make investment decisions which will impact their production for the next 15 to 20 years so the future of the PO scheme is incredibly serious. Successive 'out' campaigners have indicated that the money currently supporting Pillar 1 funding under the CAP will continue to flow through to the UK agricultural industry. The funding for POs forms part of the Pillar 1 funding. The value of the PO scheme to UK POs is around 40m euros. This pales into insignificance compared with the 3.1bn euros which supports the wider UK agriculture. More importantly it pales into insignificance compared with the sums drawn down by France, Spain and Italy under the EU Fruit and Veg regime. Even Belgium draws down more funding than the UK.

So what happens next. Over the weekend I spoke with Ali Capper Chair of the NFU Hort Board and we are both agreed that the future of the PO scheme is a key priority. I am arranging a meeting of key players from the fresh produce sector to consider this and the issue of seasonal labour and we are also in touch with Defra and the RPA.

Our aim moving forward will be to build a robust case for the continuation of a scheme which supports and encourages collaboration across the fresh produce sector and enables the industry to compete and increase its market share of the UK fresh fruit, veg and salad market.