Navigating the turbulence created by Brexit should bring opportunities, as well as challenges, according Jack Ward, Chief Executive of British Growers, speaking after the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers conference in London.
“There are some immediate issues which need to be addressed,” said Mr Ward, “Such as access to labour, which could have a massive impact on our ability to service existing markets here in the UK. If we can’t bring the labour to the crops, the logical alternative is to take the crops to the labour resulting in production moving abroad.
“This is not great from a UK perspective, and would have knock-on consequences up and down the supply chain.
“On the positive side, we have a significant opportunity to increase our share of the UK markets. We are very dependent on the EU for supplies of fresh fruit and veg, and there is no reason why UK producers shouldn’t look to take a higher proportion of UK market share in the future.
“The UK lags behind in terms of consumption of fresh fruit and veg, with the average person still some way off the recommended intake. With the right tools and policies in place we should be looking to the future with a sense of optimism. Increasing market share, and putting a greater emphasis on ‘grown at home’ are just some of the benefits the industry should be looking for despite the turbulence and uncertainty created by Brexit.”
Mr. Ward was part of a panel session held as part of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers conference with the theme ‘Navigating turbulence in the produce supply chain and beyond’.