As the UK horticulture sector continues to face soaring production costs and a lack of certainty about future workforce availability, the NFU has welcomed many of the recommendations in the House of Lords report.
These include improved fairness in the supply chain, greater access to government funding schemes and longer-term certainty over recruitment through the Seasonal Workers Scheme.
NFU horticulture and potatoes board chair Martin Emmett said: “As this report shows, we have a real opportunity to boost the whole horticulture sector and produce more fruit, veg, plants and flowers, and deliver greater health and environmental outcomes for the nation.
“While soaring costs and supply chain challenges are significantly impacting confidence within the sector, British growers have an ambition for growth. But we cannot do it without government support. The government’s own food strategy, published in 2022, implies it shares this ambition, but we must see this backed up with tangible actions.”
He stressed the importance of a quick and thorough response from the government, as well as previous reports still awaiting action.
“In its food strategy, the government promised to deliver a long-term strategy for the sector and highlighted the many benefits of increasing UK fruit and veg production, both for the health of the nation and for its food security. Yet we continue to see a contraction in the sector due to soaring costs rather than government action which will give growers the confidence to invest and boost production.
“British shoppers want more home-grown produce and plants, and we could grow more if we had the right political and supply chain policies in place. The government needs to show that it champions this vision and set out its plan for overcoming the many barriers that are holding UK horticulture back.”