Plant protection issues tops the agenda at industry meeting

by Tim Mudge

BRITISH GROWERS HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF PLANT PROTECTION PRODUCTS

British Growers Association, the UK’s leading horticultural body, has warned the sector that the erosion of plant protection products will undermine the industry’s ability to meet expectations for the increasing demand for fresh food.

Jack Ward, chief executive of British Growers Association, together with the chairmen of the UK’s leading Crop Associations, identified the ongoing loss of actives as a major barrier to retaining a globally competitive position within fresh produce at a recent industry event in Peterborough.

Fresh produce has a vital role to play in tackling some of the health related issues facing the UK. With increasing levels of obesity and the need to increase the quantity of fresh fruit and produce in the national diet, the UK should be looking to expand its production capacity.

Jack Ward, who organised the meeting on Tuesday 24th November 2015, said: “Plant protection products play a vital role and combating pests and diseases becomes increasingly difficult as the list of options available to growers continues to decline.

“The complexity and cost of the plant protection product registration process is becoming a disincentive for suppliers to put new products onto the market. The industry urgently needs a strong pipeline of new product to meet customer expectations on quality and appearance.”

Growers are calling for a better system of horizon scanning to get early warning of products which may be phased out and information about new products which may be about to enter the market.

Jack Ward added: “Going forward, we now need to build more of a coalition around this subject.

“And we will be looking to work with other organisations and individuals from across the sector to make sure that the industry has the range of products it needs and to get early warning to growers about changes in the availability of products in the future.”