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British Growers News Update: Covid 19

By Company News, Industry News

Govt COVID recovery strategy

This is quite a long read and there is not much which is specific to fresh produce, but it is quite interesting and provides some useful background. Covid recovery strategy.

 

Quarantine arrangements for International travellers

This is the statement from Govt about international travellers:

The Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where international travellers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government. The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to coordinate implementation across the UK.

Small exemptions to these measures will be in place to provide for continued security of supply into the UK and so as not to impede work supporting national security or critical infrastructure and to meet the UK’s international obligations. All journeys within the Common Travel Area will also be exempt from these measures.

These international travel measures will not come into force on 13th May but will be introduced as soon as possible. Further details, and guidance, will be set out shortly, and the measures and list of exemptions will be kept under regular review.

Defra is aware of the issue surrounding seasonal workers and a range of other international arrivals into the UK that are critical to the effective functioning of the food sector. We are expecting the list of exemptions to be published shortly.

 

Updated travel advice

One of the many challenges facing growers is the transport of growers to and from site. The Govt has recently updated its advice, there is a specific section on the use of private cars and other vehicles.

 

Guidance for construction and outdoor workers

The Govt. advice for outdoor workers has been updated.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) extended

The Chancellor has confirmed that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended for 4 months until the end of October. From now until the end of July there will be no changes to the current scheme. From August, there will be greater flexibility for employers having the opportunity to part time furlough which will help to support the transition back to work. Between August and October, employers will share the cost of the 80% furloughed salary with government. Further details regarding implementation of this scheme will be announced by the end of May.

 

Seasonal labour – Call for Evidence

On 13th May the Migration Advisory Committee launched a 6 week call for evidence focussed on a review of the shortage occupation lists. Sectors are recommended to share their recruitment experiences with the Committee, and these will inform the recommendations when it reports to the Home Secretary in September 2020. The Committee acknowledges the extra pressures businesses are under as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak and this will be reflected in the final report.

Further information here.

 

Veg Power seasonal veg campaign

As a result of a chance conversation with someone in Defra, Veg Power has been commissioned to promote the purchase and consumption of in-season vegetables using social media, web and PR. The campaign will launch in late May and run for 2 months, and possibly beyond. Veg Power will be mobilising a network of chef’s, nutritionists, food writers, supermarkets and media outlets to champion in-season vegetables. As part of the campaign, Veg Power is keen to push growers to the fore, to tell the story of how vegetables get to store and build excitement.

The range of crops they are looking to promote includes:

Asparagus

Cucumbers

Mushrooms

Salad Leaves

Courgettes

Tomatoes

Beetroot.

The promotion is due to begin in late May and run through to July.

… a bit more from the Veg Power campaign

If UK diets hit current recommendations for veg, it’s estimated that we could see:

21,000 premature deaths avoided every year [GBD, 2017]

84% growth of the UK horticultural sector [Food Foundation, 2020]

March was the biggest month EVER for grocery sales

Retailers benefit, with 22% sales growth w/e March 22nd

Boost for convenience and independent stores (30% growth) and veg boxes schemes (111% growth)

 

What did we buy during lockdown?

 

 

 

Where did we buy it from?

 

British Growers News Update: Covid 19

By Company News, Industry News

Support during the Coronavirus outbreak – CBILS and farming businesses

 

Background

On the 3rd April the Government announced extensions to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which was originally launched on the 23rd March as part of a package of measures to support businesses hit by Coronavirus. This means that all viable small businesses affected by Coronavirus, and not just those viable businesses unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible if the lender believes they will need finance to see them through these unprecedented times. This means many more farming businesses are now eligible to take part in the scheme.

 What is the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme?

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) supports viable small and medium-sized businesses experiencing difficulties as a result of the coronavirus outbreak to access finance, if external finance is the right answer.

The scheme helps all viable UK-based businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years.

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment (BIP) to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. This means smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

By providing an 80% government guarantee on eligible lending, this scheme gives over 40 lenders the confidence to keep lending to viable businesses that have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak but are facing significant cash-flow difficulties in the short-term.

No lender can take a personal guarantee for a loan of less than £250,000 that is supported by the CBILS.

Over 40 accredited lenders provide loans supported by the scheme, including all the major banks.

Farming businesses

The agricultural sector has the same eligibility criteria as all of the other sectors within the CBILS eligibility criteria. An SME operating within the agricultural sector does not have to prove their eligibility in any different way to an SME operating in other sectors e.g. retail or manufacturing.

The maximum value of lending that can be delivered to an SME operating in the agricultural sector is the same as for any other sector i.e. £5m up to 6 years for term loans and asset finance, and 3 years for revolving credit and invoice finance.

The only difference relates to the level of the BIP (to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees) an agricultural SME can receive; this is restricted to a maximum of €100,000.

Do any other payments received reduce the amount of BIP that can be offered to farm businesses through CBILS?

Certain payments you receive may count towards the amount of BIP. In this instance, these payments are made under the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current Coronavirus outbreak. Other payments such as the Basic Payments Scheme, the Rural Development Programme for England, or those received as Agricultural de-minimis will not affect the value of BIP that can be made.

How do farm businesses apply for a CBILS loan?

In the first instance farming businesses should contact their usual finance provider. Following expansion of the scheme farming businesses should consider re-contacting their lender if they have previously been unsuccessful in securing finance, as they may now be eligible. Businesses may also consider approaching one of the other 40 accredited lenders if they have been unable to access the finance they need through their own bank.

UK Finance have issued a statement on behalf of the sector which announced that banks, building societies and credit card providers are committed to supporting their business customers in continuing to trade, and would encourage businesses to speak to their lender if they need finance.

What about larger businesses?

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £250 million. For firms with a turnover of more than £250 million the maximum loan is £50 million.

This will give banks the confidence to lend to more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus but which they would not lend to without CLBILS. Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest.

Bounce Back Loan

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will launch on the 4th May 2020 and will help small and medium sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years with no repayments due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders. We will circulate further details about the scheme as they become available.

For further information visit GOV.UK or email agritrade@defra.gov.uk.

 

 

Government recovery strategy

A recent unofficial report suggests that seven guidance documents have been drawn up by cabinet office minister Michael Gove and business secretary Alok Sharma, and these will form the basis for the government’s proposals to get people back to work in the coming weeks. The documents cover workers in seven different settings: hotel and restaurant staff; those who work in other people’s homes; factory workers; people working outdoors; people working in vehicles; shop workers; and office workers.

Businesses with more than five employees must produce a written risk assessment of working conditions for their staff if they wish to reopen during the pandemic. But even after the first relaxation of some lockdown measures, expected to be announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday, it will remain the case that those who can work from home must continue to do so.

 

 

Important announcement on changes to the deadline for the BPS scheme

2020 claim deadline extended to 15 June 2020

The government has confirmed that the deadline for 2020 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications, Countryside Stewardship (CS) revenue claims, Environmental Stewardship (ES) claims, and woodland legacy revenue claims, without penalty, is extended by one month to midnight on 15 June 2020, in recognition of the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The period for making amendments without penalty is extended to midnight on 30 June 2020.

The final deadline, with penalty, is extended to midnight on 10 July 2020.

 

Seasonal Workers update

Pick for Britain website has launched. The website is a joint public sector and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.

 

Important announcement for RPA inspections

The RPA have been looking at ways of moving forward in relation to claims inspections whilst the current Government restrictions are in place. As all inspections visits to customers’ own premises have been cancelled, the RPA and DEFRA have put in place a number of options to complete the inspections remotely.

The options are: –

  • PO’s email documents to their RPA inspector.
  • Where documents cannot be emailed, the PO should contact their inspector for an address to post the documentation either by tracked post or with a reputable courier.
  • Where there are specific systems such as payroll, which cannot be downloaded, the RPA can view these remotely with the PO via Microsoft Teams.
  • Provide the inspector with access to your PO’s cloud through they could view data normally seen on site

As a last resort, the RPA will consider a limited inspection visit with full social distancing.

It is important to note that all these options apply to both annual 2019 claims where inspections were not completed prior to the lockdown as well as any arrears/interim claims for the 2020 operational programmes.

British Growers News Update: Covid 19

By Company News, Industry News

Testing

Testing for COVID-19 is being extended to include additional frontline workers who are symptomatic, and members of their household who are symptomatic. This will allow frontline workers to return to work if they, or members of their household, test negative for coronavirus.

The definition of front-line workers includes the following

Critical personnel in the production and distribution of food, drink and essential goods, including those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and deliver.

There will be two testing options:

Testing at one of the national drive-through centres which are currently being expanded in capacity and location; and

Home testing kits for those employees unable to travel to testing centres which will be delivered via Amazon courier.

Please note that these arrangements currently only relate to testing in England and we are seeking clarity on Scotland and Wales. Follow the link for further information .

 

 

Pick for Britain

After the soft launch of the pick for Britain campaign, the Secretary of State has officially launched

the scheme. We have attached the official communication from George Eustice for information.

Further details about the scheme can be found at the site

 

 Industry guidance

AHDB have been working on several hubs, collating the relevant government guidance for growers to refer to:

Coronavirus: advice for farmers and growers (section on seasonal labour for horticulture)

Best practices to avoid the spread of coronavirus for seasonal workers on fruit and vegetable farms

 

PPE in the food sector

We are working closely with the Food and Drink Federation on a range of food industry related issues. One of these is the availability of PPE. The FDF has set up a small working group to look at PPE issues as they affect the food sector. This is a short summary of the position to date:

Maintaining food production needs PPE

During this crisis there has been a significant increase in demand for PPE that has led to availability issues in food sectors

Healthcare sectors must be the national priority for PPE provision, but there is a clear policy and political argument that food production, as an essential sector supporting the national effort, is worthy of PPE prioritisation

are asking government colleagues and politicians to prioritise availability of PPE for essential roles in the food sector

The food sectors listed below collectively need around 200,000 FFP2/FFP3 face masks every week for regular jobs within their supply chains

We are committed to working with and supporting the PPE manufacture and distribution supply chain and recognise their efforts to assist food production

Letter from M&S                                                      

We have received the attached letter from Stuart Machin M&S Managing Director for Food, addressed to Minette Batters President of the NFU and agreed to circulate it with this newsletter.

 

Stay safe in these difficult times.

 

British Growers Team

 

LSA Fellowship Scheme are seeking new entrants

By Company News

LSA Fellowship Scheme :

12th August 2019

 

The LSA CT Fellowship are seeking news entrants or developing manager within horticulture to apply for the Fellowship Scheme.

John Cappalonga of Gee Vee Enterprise said: “The LSA Trust has set up a Fellowship scheme to develop six promising individuals per year that prepares students for Horticultural leadership in a wide variety of settings within the industry. This comes at a very crucial and exciting time for Horticulture as we seek to improve and modernise in tune with 21st Century techniques of growing and preparations for Brexit.”

Within the Fellowship the individual will have the opportunity to attend; ‘Technical Meetings’ covering topics such as crop protection, resources, and productivity, a Study Tour, Technical/strategic committees of the participating trade bodies and attend a series of the visits where Fellows host the members of their cohort at their place of employment

The Fellowship launched in January 2019 and the first 6 Fellows have been immersed in the scheme for 7 months attending a plethora of industry events and meetings.

“Being part of the LSA fellowship scheme has been a real privilege. I have attended multiple events that have been both interesting, thought provoking and useful in terms of taking ideas back to my place of work. Many of the events I would not have normally got the opportunity to attend and have benefited me hugely in terms of career development. I also feel the whole process has given me a much better understanding of the horticultural industry. All the Fellows are extremely knowledgeable and having the chance to discuss the similarities and differences between how our businesses operate has really opened my eyes to different ways of working and thinking. There is a huge range of diversity in terms of the different areas of the horticultural industry each fellow works and this has meant I have been able to learn a lot about areas of the industry I wouldn’t normally be exposed to. I would highly recommend the LSA fellowship scheme to any young person who is looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of the horticultural industry. ”

Charles Croft, Trainee Growing Manager, APS Produce.

 

Here are the top reasons why you should be applying for the LSA CT Fellowship Scheme:

  • Increase your understanding of the commercial horticulture industry and the role that trade bodies play in the development of industry strategies.
  • A two-year scheme increasing your knowledge of current research and wider industry issues.
  • You will be awarded a bursary of up to £3,000 which you can draw down on to cover your activities within the scheme.
  • Opportunity to attend meetings and study tours across the horticulture sectors, covering technical, strategic and marketing.
  • Chance to experience the entire horticulture industry from propagation to field production.

Applications for year two of the Fellowship will be open from the 2nd of September, visit www.lsactfellowship.org for more details.

The Scheme is being supported by the National Farmers Union, British Growers Association, The Horticultural Trades Association, the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board.

 

For further information on the LSA CT Fellowship Scheme please contact Coral Russell, 01507 602427

Pretty Mudder!

By Company News

BGA Pretty Mudder!

The British Growers team have made it through the Race for Life, Pretty Mudder raising £759.00. The team battled their way through mud pools, under cargo netting and over obstacles they looked filthy by the time they were through.

 

 

We would like to thank everyone who supported the team, donating money and cheering them on during the day.

Finding a Solution to the Seasonal Worker Challenge

By Company News, Industry News

Jack Ward has been in meetings with officials from the Home Office looking for practical solutions to the challenge of securing adequate numbers of seasonal workers in the future. Jack explained that the meeting was part of a series of meetings held with Govt Depts and the Edible Horticulture Round Table of which he is the co-chair. The meeting was set up at the request of the Home Office and formed part of their consultation on the White Paper on Immigration published at the end of 2018.

The Government is keen to find a balance between the need for greater control over the numbers of non UK nationals seeking work the UK and the needs of industry. We used the meeting to highlight that the use of seasonal workers makes minimal difference to the numbers seeking to settle permanently in the UK. In the vast majority of cases, seasonal workers come to the UK and return home when the work runs out at the end of the season. The immigration Bill is likely to complete its passage through parliament later this year. The Bill will be largely enabling legislation and the detail will follow in 2020 once the consultation on the fine print is complete.

Fundraising is Getting Dirty!

By Company News

The British Growers team will become the Mud Warriors when they take part in the Hull Pretty Mudder on July 6th. They will be raising money for Cancer Research UK, a cause which is so important to all of us. The team will battle the 5k obstacle course dressed in their finest pink apparel and ready for action as they scramble, climb and clamber over mud pits, mud slides and mud tunnels.

Cancer is happening right now, which is why the team is taking part in a Race for Life Pretty Muddy: to raise money and save lives.

1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Every single pound you donate makes a difference to Cancer Research UK’s ground-breaking work, so please sponsor now.

It would be brilliant if you would like to support the team by giving generously to Cancer Research. To donate please visit the fundraising page.

All the pictures of the Mud Warriors, however embarrassing, will be shared after the race.

On the evening of Friday 5 July whilst you are stepping into your pj’s or having another Gin Pauline will be taking part in The Ben Nevis Midnight Challenge for the Alzheimer’s Society and trekking through the night to the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland.

“Why? In memory of Peter Roy Nicholson, my father… builder, businessman, wise owl, hero, best mate, confidante, I was truly blessed to have had him as my Dad. Having enjoyed the best of health during his life, he was struck down with Alzheimer’s. I watched someone I love slip away with this devastatingly cruel illness knowing there was no cure. Anyone’s family who has been touched by Alzheimer’s knows only too well that the torture your loved one suffers and the effect it has on the family as they witness this horrendous illness; It is heart breaking.”

Taking part in The Ben Nevis Challenge will help raise funds towards vital research for a cure of this terrible illness and support for those suffering. Donations of support will be very much appreciated, visit Pauline’s page.

Event Sponsorship Opportunities

By Company News

Event Sponsorship Opportunities

There are some exciting sponsorship opportunities available for our upcoming events. If you are interested in any of the opportunities below, please contact Debbie Stacey on admin@britishgrowers.org or 01507 602427.

 

Asparagus Grower Association Biennial Conference :  Tuesday 16 July 2019

National Agri-Food Innovation Campus (NAFIC), Sand Hutton, YO41 1LZ

Main Conference Sponsorship Package – x 2

–          Company logo on all conference literature with company literature insert in handout

–          Trade stand – 6m x 1.5m, with first choice of location

–          Use of banners on stage and around the venue

–          Delegate tickets (5) and dinner tickets (5)

 

UK Vining Pea Industry Conference :  Tuesday 05 November 2019 

The Kingsgate Centre, Peterborough

Main Conference Sponsorship Package

–          Company logo on all conference literature with company literature insert in handout

–          Trade stand – 6m x 1.5m, with first choice of location

–          Use of banners on stage and around the venue

–          Chairmanship of either morning or afternoon conference session

–          Delegate tickets (5)

 

The Onion and Carrot Conference : Wednesday 20 November 2019

The Cambridge Corn Exchange

Lunch Sponsorship

–          Acknowledgment, logo and link on the conference website.  Plus, acknowledgment in the programme and on the opening slides

–          Up to 3m trade stand space in a location of your choice, giving access to all delegates

–          Participation in the choice of lunch options.

–          2 delegate tickets and 2 conference dinner tickets

Programme Sponsorship

–          Acknowledgment, logo and link on the conference website.

–          Acknowledgment in the conference programme and conference opening slides

–          2 delegate tickets for the conference.

–          Participation in the design of the programme.

Dinner Sponsorship £4,000

–          Acknowledgment, logo and link on the conference website

–          Recognition in the handout and fliers

–          Recognition of sponsorship on the dinner menu

–          Banners/publicity material in the dining area

–          Opportunity for involvement with the Dinner planning

–          Opportunity to brief the after-dinner speaker prior to the event

–          Table of 10 for the evening dinner

Post Conference Drinks Reception Sponsorship £1,500

–          Onion Bhajis and Craft Beer drinks reception

–          Acknowledgment, logo and link on the conference website

–          Recognition of sponsorship on the programme

–          Company banners at the drink’s reception

–          2 conference tickets

–          Opportunity to sample and choose the beers served