Fruit growers' association presents post-Brexit wish-list to parties

The British Independent Fruit Growers Association (BIFGA) has written to all the main party leaders ahead of the general election, calling on them to back a range of measures support the UK fresh produce industry post-Brexit.

BIFGA chairman John Breach: Image: HW
BIFGA chairman John Breach: Image: HW

Specific measures it calls for include:

  • a UK replacement to the EU's Fruit & Vegetables Regime that is "available equally to all growers, regardless of how and where they market their produce", i.e. not requiring membership of a producer organisation;
  • visas or exemptions for migrant workers "to enable seasonal work on farms to be carried out efficiently, and without loss of crops";
  • UK growers to have full access "to all appropriate, officially-approved crop protection products, regardless of where the approval has been granted";
  • government funding for basic crop research to complement work that growers already pay for through AHDB;
  • "special attention" to be given to improving the operation of the UK’s food supply chain, to counter "pressure on suppliers to supply produce at prices that are unsustainable";
  • "much tougher action" by government to reduce the time that growers are effectively "lending" money to retailers and others in the supply chain through late payment;
  • a reduced red-tape burden including relaxing of the recently introduced requirement to supply real-time tax returns.

Chairman John Breach added: "BlFGA hopes that, once we are free of the constraints of the EU, the UK Government will unashamedly source and promote UK produce whenever possible," and urged "a British apple in the Ministerial lunchbox".

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