Innovation commitment is good, but a labour solution is urgently required

by Peter Crowe

February 2017


Innovation commitment is good, but a labour solution is urgently required  


Jack Ward, Chief Executive of the British Growers Association, has welcomed Andrea Leadsom’s commitment to innovation and productivity, but warned that it will be a hollow promise without a matching and immediate commitment to resolving the labour shortage in the fresh produce industry.


Speaking at the annual NFU Conference, the Secretary of State outlined five key principles behind the development of policy for agriculture including ‘trade’ and ‘innovation and productivity’.


Jack Ward said: “We believe that innovation and improvements in productivity are vital, and in the long-term these things can go some way to resolving the problems around labour shortage in this and other industries. In this regard, I do believe that Producer Organisations have a vital role to play, and we are urging the Government to make a commitment on the future of these.


“We understand that the control of migration was a major issue in the referendum, but I don’t think anyone wants to undermine the food and farming at this critical time, which is why we need an urgent solution to labour shortage, as well as a long-term commitment.


“I am encouraged by David Davis’ comments yesterday (Tuesday) in Latvia when he said that we are not about to suddenly shut the door on low-skilled EU migrants. We do need economic reality to take precedence over political rhetoric.


“I also question the emphasis on exports by the Secretary of State, when there is so much potential for growing markets in the UK. We need to work with the Government to ensure that UK growers take back a greater proportion of the UK food market, before considering the potential for greater exports.” 





Note to Editors


The British Growers Association is an umbrella organisation for Crop Associations, Producer Organisations, and Marketing Groups. It represents and promotes the interests of the fresh produce horticultural industry as a whole and seeks to add value and identify opportunities which are not open to individual crop-based organisations. More information on the work of British Growers can be found at


More information on this release from: Peter Crowe, Peter Crowe Communications,
Tel: 07967 504034 Email: