Export business hit by fund cut

Funding for UK horticultural export slashed in half by trade body

Last-minute meetings to try to keep funding to help horticulture firms build export trade have failed. Commercial Horticultural Association (CHA) export promoter Peter Grimbly had a “disappointing” meeting with representatives of the UK Trade & Investment International (UKTI) business scheme in London last week. The scheme is cutting funding from £20 million to £10 million for all exporters over the next two years. The CHA’s income will fall from £60,000 to £45,000 in 2005/06 and to zero in 2006/07. Grimbly said: “Unless something drastic happens the scheme will end. This is going to be a major discouragement for exporters.” The scheme will end on 31 March 2006, except for first-time exporters. A UKTI representative said he would be disappointed if the CHA pulled out of the scheme but added that there was no more money to go round. Grimbly said the CHA would continue to organise UK exhibitions overseas and was working with the Stoneleigh-based International Agriculture Technology Centre on securing future funding. www.tradepartners.gov.uk/sesa

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