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British Growers

BRITISH GROWERS NEWS UPDATE – Free Covid Tests

By Uncategorized

The Govt has recognised that the food sector is an essential industry which needs to keep running and is one where workers cannot work from home. Therefore regular, rapid testing is a fundamental tool to prevent Covid outbreaks in the workplace.

 Free testing offer

Businesses of any size, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can sign up for the government’s workplace testing scheme. It will provide lateral flow technology (LFT/LFD) free of charge until 30 June but businesses need to register before 31 March 2021.

By registering you are not committing to testing nor do you need to place an order when you register an interest. Registration provides the opportunity to access government testing models as soon as they become available thus, allowing businesses to assess what will be most appropriate for their situation. Over 48,000 businesses have registered to date.

 How to register for free test kits

To access the free test kits until 30 June 2021, businesses need to register an interest by 31 March 2021.

N.B. This service is currently only available to businesses registered in England.

If your business is registered in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland but you have employees in England, you will need to register by email. Contact p-and-psector@dhsc.gov.uk for more advice.

 Accessing community testing facilities

In addition to registering, businesses with fewer than 50 employees may want to contact their local authority in the first instance to explore the possibility of using the growing number of community testing facilities. All local authorities in England are offering regular testing for those who need to leave home for work. Find out more here.

Addressing agri-tech challenges on an international platform: Dual Membership is your passport to UK’s excellence in agri-tech innovation

By Uncategorized

Two of the UK’s leading agri-tech centres, Agri-EPI and CHAP, have joined forces to provide international companies of all sizes with the opportunity to sign up with a dual membership – accessing benefits of both organisations at a discounted rate.

Agricultural Innovation
Agri-EPI and CHAP support the development, evaluation and delivery of technology and data-driven solutions to the challenges faced by the agricultural industry. Dual membership provides access to their state-of-the-art capabilities and support to help businesses reach their full potential.

BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

Programme Outline
In this webinar we will hear from representatives from the Department of International Trade, KTN, Agri-EPI and CHAP, in addition to an update on the Ultra Fine Bubbles Project demonstrating the joint R&D capabilities of the agri-tech centres CHAP and Agri-EPI. We then open up the session for a panel discussion with the opportunity to find out how dual international membership will be your passport to UK’s excellence in agri-tech innovation.


Benefits of dual membership
* Do you want to access two of the UK’s leading agri-tech organisations to develop your innovative technologies?
* Do you want access to the UK market to launch your innovative technology?
* Do you think you can make an impact on the UK agri-tech market?
* Do you want to access UK funding, carry out research and test and trial your innovative technology?
* Be a part of the agri-ecosystem of over 200 other companies that span the network of our two organisations
* Growth and development opportunities outside of the UK network

BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

Agenda (BST):
12.00pm: Welcome and House keeping – Agri-EPI Membership & Events Manager

12.05pm: UK agri-tech Opportunity – Animal Sciences and Animal Agri-Tech Sector Specialist, Department for International Trade, Sam Hoste

12.15pm: Agri-EPI enabling agri-tech innovation UK and International – Business Development Director, Lisa Williams

12.20: Crop Health and Protection: World leading UK AgriTech capabilities to catalyse global innovative solutions – International Business Development Manager, Dr Jenna Ross

12.25pm: Ultra Fine Bubbles – A presentation on the joint capabilities between the two agri-tech centres and what is possible through working together – CHAP Innovation Sector Lead, Richard Glass

12.35 Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) International funding opportunities – KTN Knowledge Transfer Manager (Plants and Crops), Pedro Carvalho

12.45pm Panel questions
Do you want to set-up a one-to-one meeting, and aren’t able to attend the webinar? Then email either matthew.briggs@chap-solutions.co.uk or annabelle.gardner@agri-epicentre.com

Get your business in front of UK growers

By Uncategorized

2020, and into 2021, Covid 19 is affecting the way we live and work.

As well as all the life events that could not take place this year, the horticultural industry has been unable to host any training or networking events. New technologies, innovations and products have been unable to be showcased to growers in the usual way.

In light of this situation, we have expanded our regular communications to our members and are now offering reasonable advertising opportunities or editorial spaces in our membership updates. These include:

  • Asparagus Growers Association
  • Brassica Growers Association
  • British Carrot Growers Association
  • British Herb Trade Association
  • British Leafy Salad Association
  • British Onions
  • Pea and Bean Growers Association
  • Plant Propagators
  • Turfgrass Growers Association.

Our advertising rates are used to help support the Grower Associations so that they can continue to represent and support the growers in their sector.

If you would like more information on placing an advert with our Crop Associations, please contact coral.russell@britishgrowers.org

British Growers News Updates

By Company News

Veg Power Seasonal Vegetable Campaign

 Veg Power is planning a new seasonal veg campaign for 2021. In 2020, with a £20,000 grant from DEFRA, VegPpower launched a social media campaign to promote seasonal vegetables. The campaign was supported by 1,379 influencers including Jamie Oliver, Prue Leith, Ainsley Harriot, SORTED Food,

Change4Life and a legion of cooks, food writers, nutritionists and food lovers. Collectively the 2020 campaign reached 11.4 million people and a pre and post campaign survey carried out by You Gov showed a 2.2% increase in awareness of seasonality equating to 1.15m people.

The 2021 campaign, which launched in January, will continue the seasonal promotion with a 12-month programme of 38 featured veg weeks.

 

Eat Them to Defeat Them Campaign

 Through the Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign, Veg Power is trying to engineer a significant and lasting shift in consumer behaviour. The campaign is a 10-year mission. It will require a sustained, large scale, whole sector approach involving Growers and Crop Associations, retailers, schools, nutrition organisations and social media influencers, particularly chefs and food writers to deliver effectively on its intended outcome which is to transform the UK into a nation of veg lovers.

The campaign will combine three main elements.

  • Desire – making domestically produced in-season vegetables aspirational.
  • Education – increasing awareness of the benefits of seasonal veg.
  • Availability – increasing availability and promotion at point of retail purchase and food service consumption.

For more information contact: dan.parker@vegpower.org.uk

 

Seasonal Staff

 At the end of February, British Growers attended a meeting with Defra and other organisations for an update on the seasonal worker situation. For the 2021 season the number of permits has been increased from 10,000 to 30,000. In addition to Concordia and Pro-Force, two more agencies have been added to list of agencies managing the seasonal worker permits. We expect details of these new agencies to be announced shortly.

 

Settled and pre settled status

Across the UK, 4 million EU citizens have applied for pre-settled or settle status. This will enable them to continue to work in the UK. The opportunity to apply for settled and pre-settled status is still open and the final date for applications will be 30 June 2021.

 

Metalaxyl and Tefluthrin

 British Growers has written to Victoria Prentis, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra to draw her attention to the plans for the withdrawal of Metalaxyl and Tefluthrin and the impact the loss of these key crop protection products would have on the production of major field scale veg crops here in the UK.

 

Red Tractor Review and Vining Peas

 We have submitted a proposal to the review of the Red Tractor standards asking for consideration of an option to register vining pea as part of the combinable crop scheme for those growers required to meet the Red Tractor standards by their processor / customer and whose only crop requiring registration under the produce assurance scheme is vining peas. The justification for the request is that in many cases the activities (with the exception of harvest and haulage) are compatible with combinable crop production.

 

Update on the Defra Environmental Land Management Scheme

 With effect from 2021 money will be transferred from the current Basic Payment Scheme and transferred to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme ELMS (public money for public goods). By 2024 50% of the Basic Payment Scheme funding will be transferred to ELMS and a new productivity scheme.

Although horticulture is not a big beneficiary of the scheme, for growers who combine fresh produce with other arable or grassland operations, the impact will be significant. So, the launch of the initial stages of the new ELM Scheme including an invitation to take part in the first phase of the Sustainable Farming Incentive Scheme pilot may be of interest to growers looking to fund the delivery of public goods with public funding.

More details of the scheme can be found here.

British berry industry grows 600% in 25 years

By Industry News

This year, British Summer Fruits is celebrating its milestone 25th anniversary of representing and supporting the UK berry industry.

The last 25 years have seen huge growth and success for fresh berries, with the industry now worth over £1.5 billion. That’s a staggering growth of over 600% from a value of £206 million in 1996, the year British Summer Fruits was incorporated.

As the UK berry industry’s trade body, British Summer Fruits represents the great majority of fresh berries supplied to UK retailers. In addition to its year-round promotional PR and press office campaign, the body also represents and supports members with media comment on key industry issues. For example, British Summer Fruits has been heavily involved in lobbying and talking to government in support of the industry on matters such as seasonal worker availability and, in the past polytunnel planning.

 

The work of British Summer Fruits is funded on a voluntary levy basis, and today the organisation is pleased to be supported by over 90% of UK growers and berry marketing groups.

Nick Marston has been chairman of British Summer Fruits since 2017. In that time the industry has seen significant growth and addressed a number of industry challenges, such as access to and availability of seasonal workers.

Nick said: “The work British Summer Fruits does in representing the whole berry industry is invaluable. Our annual campaign to support growers spans our proactive Love Fresh Berries consumer engagement campaign, which focuses on the health benefits and versatility of fresh berries, as well as recipe ideas and seasonal information to inspire purchase in addition to media outreach and government lobbying,

“Our PR campaigns typically achieve a 40:1 ROI and have evolved in recent years to include social media and improved ways of measuring our impact, and it’s no coincidence that the industry has seen solid growth every year the campaign has run.

“With increasing calls for consumers to adopt healthier lifestyles and diets, our work to highlight fresh berries as a delicious, healthy snack and ingredient is extremely important. We also need to continue to drive consumer demand to support our UK berry growers and their growth ambitions by providing an ever-expanding market for their crops.”

The berry industry has seen significant innovation in the past 25 years, including varietal developments, new growing techniques and the use of new technology. As a result, the self-sufficiency of the British berry industry continues to grow each year, with the UK season now extending from May to November. British Summer Fruits year-round Love Fresh Berries campaign linked with improving quality and availability of fruit from overseas growers means the UK now has a growing year-round market for fresh berries.

Nick Marston continues: “We are pleased to work with such a large proportion of UK growers each year, but the opportunity to partner with more, including overseas growers and their representatives, is always present.

“The last 25 years have been extremely successful for the berry industry and we hope the next 25 will see similar success, even with industry challenges such as Brexit and seasonal workers. Having industry wide representation to promote and support the industry is essential, and we look forward to continuing our activities to support members and drive ongoing consumer demand.”

Lochy Porter, chairman of Angus Soft Fruits and a British Summer Fruits member since 2003 said: “I have been extremely fortunate to be farming in a sector of agriculture that has enjoyed fantastic growth because of the brilliant tasting soft fruit that British growers produce, and all the health benefits that eating soft fruits offer.

“Alongside this, being a member of BSF has been key in promoting the health benefits and quality of the soft fruit that we produce, as well as addressing industry challenges and issues on our behalf. I believe BSF has been instrumental in supporting the overall growth of the soft fruit industry in the UK.”

 

British Growers News Update – Lockdown boosts the sales of UK veg

By Industry News

The health benefits of eating veg has certainly struck a chord with consumers. The British Onions Producers Association and UK Brassica Growers Association have seen sales of onions and brassicas soar during lockdown. Retailers are reporting increases of 25% in year on year sales of onions, and in the early stages of lockdown sales were up as much as 70% on previous years.

Commenting on the growth in onion consumption, Tim Elcome, Chairman of the British Onions Producers Association said, ‘with many more people inevitably cooking at home the humble onion is proving ever popular’.  But Increased demand coupled with an unpredictable growing season means that stocks of UYK onions are somewhat lower than we would normally expect.  This may result in a tightening of UK stocks and an increased import window next spring and early summer.

Brassica growers have experienced a similar situation with higher than normal sales across the full range of brassicas as consumers look for new things to cook at home. ‘This has been a great opportunity for people to re-discover the benefits of seasonal home grown produce’ explained Richard Mowbray, Chairman of the UK Brassica Growers Association.

Richard went on to point out that the spell of very cold weather over the Christmas period has affected some yields and supplies have been affected.  Imports from Spain have also been affected due to heavy snow caused by Storm Filomena.  As a result of this unprecedented demand, UK brassica supplies will be tight for the remainder of the winter period with some varieties finishing earlier than normal and sales outstripping supply.

Stewart Aspinall Chairman of the Leek Growers Association has seen a similar patter emerge with leek consumption. ‘Consumers spending more time eating at home and cooking from scratch has created greater demand for British leeks, with many trying the vegetable for the first time and enjoying its taste and versatility’.

But as with onions and brassicas, this unexpected growth in demand, coupled with a harsh Spring in 2020, means that there is likely to be a shortfall by April, with supply ending earlier than normal and retailers will have to look at importing more expensive continental leeks to fill the void.

The British Carrot Growers Association Chairman, Rodger Hobson comments that the “carrot industry is delighted with the increase in demand from UK consumers, spending more time at home preparing food has led the UK to rekindle their love for the humble British carrot”. Following the 2020 growing year, which was challenging, Rodger warns “that there might be some imported carrots on the shelves to ensure continuity of supply. This will enable everyone to enjoy carrots in all their meal occasions until the new UK crops comes on stream”.

Jack Ward, British Growers said ‘It’s great to see this surge in demand. We know as a nation we don’t have enough veg in our diet and while part of the success is attributable to lockdown, there is a growing interest in healthy eating and seasonal produce. The UK had a proud tradition of producing seasonal veg throughout the year and the increased consumption has brought a welcome counter to the problems of coping with the Covid pandemic.’

British Growers News Update – Covid testing for food workers

By Industry News

AHDB ballot

Quick reminder, the AHDB ballot closes on 10 February 2021 and we are expecting the outcome to be announced on 17 February 2021.

Covid testing for food workers

Defra would like to invite growers with more than 50 employees to register for the provision of government-funded lateral flow technology (LFT/LFD) to test asymptomatic workers. These free test kits will be available until 31 March 2021.

The offer

  • a limited period of free LFDs shipped to one location;
  • a clinically approved protocol (Standard Operating Procedures);
  • a Guidebook to describe how to set up and run a safe and effective testing site;
  • on-demand training for the operatives that will process tests & run the site; and
  • a GDPR-compliant digital solution to report results to Public Health England.

Setting up an ATS site may not be viable for smaller businesses or premises, and therefore this model is less suitable for mobile employees working in the field away from a fixed location and so Government is developing other options. In the meantime, the suggestion is for businesses with fewer than 50 employees to contact their local authority to explore the possibility of using the growing number community testing facilities.

Next steps

Those that want to further engage, please register your interest with P&P Sector Testing Queries P-and-PSector@dhsc.gov.uk including “Register interest for National Worker Programme” in the subject line and including the following information in the email body:

Institution name

Email for main point of contact

Industry sector  e.g. Food manufacturing

Company registration number

Size of company (# employees) e.g. 50-250, >250

The offer is currently for England only but conversations in the Devolved Administrations are ongoing. Please flag if your business includes locations in Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.

The Farming Equipment & Technology Fund

Defra is planning to launch the Farming and Equipment Technology Fund (FETF) in England in the Autumn of 2021. This scheme will be part of the Farming Investment Fund and provide grants to farmers and growers (including contractors to these sectors).

 

The Fund will provide targeted support to invest in equipment, technology, and infrastructure to improve productivity in a sustainable way. The plan is to have a maximum grant of £25,000 with an intervention rate of 40%, which means items costing up to £62,500 could be eligible for the list.

Defra is preparing a list of items for inclusion in the new Fund and is asking industry to identify new items to be included in the fund.

The new equipment will need to contribute to one or more of these outcomes:

  • Improve agricultural productivity
  • Encourage more sustainable pesticide usage
  • Improve air and water quality
  • Reduce GHG emissions in line with Net Zero targets
  • Reduce unsustainable use of abstracted water
  • Encourage sustainable management of woodlands

Defra is seeking suggestions for items to be considered for inclusion into the new FETF and wants feedback by 12 February (although I sense this could be stretched a little).

You can either channel your ideas through us or direct to the following contacts at Defra. pamela.whaley@defra.gov.uk and Jonathan.King@rpa.gov.uk

Veg sales continue to do well

A combination of home cooking during lockdown and the vegan revolution is helping boost sales of greens. That’s according to Tesco, which says that veg such as cabbage, spinach and even sprouts have become popular as home-based Brits, with more time on their hands, return to scratch cooking. That effect has been amplified by the growing popularity of plant-based events such as Meat Free Mondays and Veganuary. The trend is so pronounced that Tesco said it is now working with its UK suppliers to grow more to meet the demand. The highest increase is being seen with leeks and cabbage as well as broccoli and sprouts. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, Tesco reported leeks sales up 30%, cabbages 25%, broccoli 20%, and sprouts, kale and spinach all around 10%.

Red Tractor | Fresh Produce consultation

By Uncategorized

Every few years, Red Tractor reviews its farm standards to ensure they evolve in a way that addresses changes in legislation, best practice and reflects the concerns and priorities of UK consumers. A comprehensive review is now open for consultation, running until the 5th of March 2021. It is open to all farms, customers, licensees and industry stakeholders. Preserving the public’s trust in UK agriculture and the Red Tractor logo has never been more important or topical. We strive to achieve a balance that protects and promotes Red Tractor farms, provides customers and consumers with confidence, and addresses key industry challenges.

 

Proposals have been developed following industry best practice: Committee | Consultation | Consensus. This is the consultation stage and every response will be reviewed before a consensus proposal is drawn up and published, ahead of Version 5 of the Red Tractor Standards being implemented on 1st November 2021. We have already consulted broadly at the committee stage to create these proposals and the public consultation is another vital component of the process. This will help ensure we have a final text that is ambitious but remains approachable and accessible for small, family farms and we want feedback from all relevant stakeholders.

 

You can access the Red Tractor 2021 Review Hub here.

 

I would like to strongly encourage you to get involved and have your say; both in response to the consultation and also the briefer Pulse Survey which allows individuals to provide quick, general feedback on the Red Tractor scheme.

 

If you would like some further information on the proposals, you will find a number of resources on the Red Tractor 2021 Review Hub. You are welcome to contact me if you have questions or would like to organise an appointment to run through the content in more detail.