Jack Ward's response to letter in the Times

by Jack Ward

The following letter has been sent to The Grocer Magazine:

Sir,

I’d like to reassure readers of The Times that as a nation, we are not as reliant on imported fruit and vegetables as its recent article (‘Imports take bite out of homegrown fruit and vegetables’, 24 March 2016) implies.

The piece, based on the launch of a new report, ‘Horticulture in the UK: potential for meeting dietary guideline demands’, paints an unfairly negative picture of UK horticulture, saying Britain is dependent on foreign production, with only a third of apples and one in six pears and plums eaten in the UK, grown here. This isn’t the case.

UK horticulture is a major supplier of home grown salads, fruit and vegetables within the UK. Throughout the industry there is a relentless drive for efficiency and continuous innovation. This is at the heart of the UK’s fresh produce strategy to retain its global competitiveness and we’re working with growers and organisations in supporting the development of the horticulture industry as a whole.

The industry is not without its challenges – loss of plant protection products, above inflation wage increases and supply chain issues to name a few, but there is terrific determination throughout the sector to rise to the challenge of providing UK consumers with more world class produce, grown here in the UK.