Draft HIP strategy sets out research agenda for horticulture

The Horticulture Innovation Partnership's draft Ornamental & Landscape Horticulture Strategy is consulting on setting a research agenda for the industry and asking for Government and research council help in seeking funding.

The document states that it wants "Horticulture UK" to lead a green revolution to encourage healthy lifestyles, environments and services, and to boost the economy.

Horticulture UK wants research and innovation investment, supporting translation into practice through the supply chain to improve healthy living in the UK - and to make British ornamentals profitable.

The strategy has five key aims:

- Improving people's health and well-being - case studies from Thrive and the University of Exeter.

- Effective delivery of environmental services - case studies: University of Reading/HTA and Hillier Nurseries.

- Biosecurity and promoting biodiversity by improving plant-health strategies and increasing biodiversity to minimise disease spread, and nursery management methods to prevent pests causing issues. Case study: Perfect for Pollinators, RHS.

- Supporting the economy by improving productivity and profitability in ornamentals by increasing yields but not costs, reducing transport costs and shrinkage and improving growers' business skills. Case studies: David Austin Roses and Sainsbury's UK-grown poinsettia.

- Social cohesion and social capital with culture, leisure, sports and tourism, civic pride and crime reduction cited as benefits of horticulture in an era of green-space degradation. Case studies on London's Olympic Park, Britain in Bloom and Cultivation Street.

Industry contributors to the draft strategy are the HTA, RHS, Landscape Institute, University of Sheffield, British Protected Ornamentals Association (NFU), Association of Professional Landscapers, Winchester Growers, Lowaters Nursery, Dove Associates and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. The Horticulture Innovation Partnership will go to Government in late March.

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