Producer Organisations could provide an opportunity to drive forward research and development activity in the fresh produce sector according to Defra Minster of State George Eustice. The minister was speaking at the Brassica and Leafy Salad Conference this week in Peterborough. The remarks were welcomed by Jack Ward, Chief Executive of the British Growers Association.
Mr. Ward said: “There has never been a time when there has been a greater need for more R&D in the sector. At the present time the UK fresh produce industry only has a 50% share of the home market. With the advent of Brexit there is a huge opportunity for UK producers to increase market share through a process of import substitution. Increased R&D will play an important part in achieving this and Producer Organisations could provide an ideal focus for greater near market research.
“Better R&D and increased market share will inevitably lead to more investment in the sector, more operational activity, and ultimately more employment opportunities. Producer Organisations have proved to be a very successful mechanism for promoting cooperation in the fresh produce sector, and we need to start considering their future role once we leave European Union.”
The Brassica and Leafy Salad Conference is organised jointly by the UK Brassica Growers’ Association and British Leafy Salad Association. It takes place every two years. The whole conference was also addressed by Dr. Tina Barsby, CEO of NIAB, and Dr. Tim Lacey, Campaign Manager for Horticulture at Bayer CropScience, before splitting into two crop-based technical sessions.