Monthly Archives

August 2020

New Client at British Growers

By Company News

We are extremely proud to announce that International Plant Propagators Society (Europe) has chosen to join British Growers for the provision of their business services.

Starting in North America in the 1950s, IPPS has had a regional branch in Europe since 1968 when the Great Britain and Ireland Region began. A Scandinavian Region followed in 1992. The two later merged and became IPPS European Region in 2014 and have members now in most European countries.

IPPS is now a global network of plant production professionals, with over 1600 members and in all sectors of plant production, from primary producers to research professionals. Their motto is to “seek and share” information with likeminded professionals and aims to improve the knowledge, skills and professionalism of its members. The network puts members in touch with people working in plant production, research, botanic gardens and education in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Southern Africa and North America; and their unique archive of technical presentations at conferences in all their regional branches, going back more than 50 years, is available to all members.

Please click the link to discover more about IPPS.

Tim Lawrance-Owen from IPPS Europe and an IPPS International Board Director commented on joining British Growers:

“The European Region of the IPPS (International Plant Propagators’ Society) who join to seek and share plant production knowledge worldwide, was seeking to appoint a new Secretary to administer their affairs. Historically one person has undertaken this, with Board members giving their time to help. British Growers Association was recommended to us as having all the facilities required led by a team of experts in administration, finance and communication. The transition to British Growers has been a pleasure facilitated by the team allocated to us. The contact has been very friendly, helpful and understanding, all done under ‘lockdown’. We are relieved to know that the British Growers has the capacity to help us for many years, giving much needed continuity! “

And at British Growers Pauline Sutton, Crop Association Executive, remarked:
“I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with IPPS as their Client Manager. It has been a pleasure engaging with Tim and his colleagues during the transition and look forward to a prosperous relationship.”

British Growers News Update: National Food Strategy

By Company News

The National Food Strategy

In October 2019 British Growers submitted evidence to the National Food Strategy. Part One of the strategy was published at the end of July and the following is a very brief summary of the key points.

The actual report extends to 86 pages and can be accessed through this link

The National Food Strategy – Part One

Our food system has just endured its biggest stress test since the Second World War. As COVID-19 swept through the UK, the entire machinery of supply and distribution had to be recalibrated, fast. The fact that, after a wobbly start, there were no serious food shortages is a testament to the flexibility and entrepreneurialism of so many food businesses, and the resilience of the food system.

The report’s recommendations cover 2 main themes:

1 Making sure a generation of our most disadvantaged children do not get left behind.

The key recommendation here is an expansion of the eligibility for the Free School Meal scheme to include every child (up to the age of 16) from a household where the parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit (or equivalent benefits).

There is an interesting potential spin off for the fresh produce sector here. At the end of July, the CEOs of the Co-op and Waitrose agreed, in principle, to supplement the Healthy Start voucher scheme with additional free fruit and vegetables. Most of the other major supermarkets and convenience stores are keen to follow suit.

2 Determining our future trading relationships and grasping the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decide what kind of trading nation we want to be.

The report recognises that UK farmers and food producers have some of the highest environmental and animal welfare standards in the world. And accepts the justifiable concern about opening up UK markets to cheaper, low-standard imports which would undercut UK producers and make a nonsense of our progressive farming policies.

The introduction of a new and enlightened agricultural system here in the UK will only work if future trading arrangements reflect the same values. Otherwise, businesses and consumers may simply replace food produced in this country to high ethical standards with cheaper imported food produced at lower standards. This would make the whole future farming programme a charade.

The report recommends that the Government should only agree to cut tariffs in new trade deals on products which meet our core standards.

The Government should establish verification programmes – along the lines of those currently operated by the US Department of Agriculture to enable American farmers to sell non-hormone-treated beef to the EU – so that producers wishing to sell into the UK market can, and must, prove they meet these minimum standards.

These certification schemes should not only cover animal welfare but also environmental and climate protections where the impact of a particular product is severe.

Using similar mechanisms to the US, it would be possible, wherever the two sets of standards diverge significantly, to create tailored certification systems to ensure that food imports into this country meet the same standards we set for the UK’s domestic products.

What is still to come?

“The way we produce our food is the mother of all sustainability issues”.

Part Two of this report will cover the history and effects of the ‘Green Revolution’ which heralded the dawn of modern intensive farming and using selectively bred crops alongside fertilisers, pesticides and advanced farm machinery to massively increase the amount of food that could be produced from the land.

What began as a response to the threat of starvation is now considered disastrous for the environment. The global food system is responsible for an estimated 20-30% of total greenhouse gas emissions. It occupies half the world’s habitable land, uses 70% of the freshwater we consume, causes three quarters of all water pollution, and is the single biggest contributor to biodiversity loss.

Th second part of the strategy will also look at the issue of self-sufficiency and ask if there an optimal percentage number that we should be targeting, whether in aggregate or varying across the seasons and for different foodstuffs?

The basic premise is that things should be produced where they cost the least. But we need to understand these costs not just in terms of pounds, euros or dollars, but in terms of carbon emissions, biodiversity losses or the exhaustion of scarce water resources.

Part 2 of the strategy will be published in 2021.

 

British Growers

British Growers Association is a grower owned, grower led, not for profit umbrella group comprising a range of organisations operating in the UK horticulture industry and fresh produce sector. The membership includes Crop Associations, Producer Organisations, marketing groups and professional membership groups.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this newsletter or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Jack Ward                         Chief Executive                                07799 75778

Lisa Eagles                        Operations Director                        07909 331907

Coral Russell                     Crop Association Executive             07881 295616

Pauline Sutton                  Crop Association Executive             07990 010437