Focus on public sector contracts

Encouraging the public sector and restaurant industry to procure local fresh produce is another aim of the Why Horticulture Matters campaign, NFU president Peter Kendall has claimed.

Kendall, speaking at the launch of the event in London last week, said: "We are not doing enough. We want British horticulture to be central to (public procurement) and there's a fantastic opportunity."

Sally Scantlebury of the food and drink network Feast - which promotes locally grown food - said that much of the problem lies in the fact that many procurers "do not know about the business of farming".

She added that price is also a pressure as the EU procurement directive requires them to source from the most "economically advantageous" supplier.

She told growers: "It's not easy to do. It does take time but we can get there. The trick is to deal with all of these issues (such as price) and work with (procurers) and keep communicating."

New Covent Garden Market representative Tom Beeston - whose job is to get more food that is grown in the South East into London - added that, in terms of sourcing local produce, caterers are under-performing by 50 per cent.

He said: "They have the demand - every single caterer I see wants more British produce. But they cannot get it. They don't know where to go to find it."

He added: "There needs to be a lot of senior policy work done to break these barriers down. The average caterer does not know where to go."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

This spring, many top-fruit growers in the UK and across Europe were dismayed to discover that swathes of their orchards had been hit by frost.

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

Upcoming reforms to water abstraction licensing will for the first time cap the amount of water that fruit growers can take for trickle irrigation.

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

At a debate during last week's Fruit Focus trade show in Kent, senior industry figures painted a bleak picture of an increasingly difficult seasonal labour market that is already impacting on investment.