Growers urged to fight downturn

Ornamental-plant growers must tough out the choppy economy and turn it to their advantage, says a newly appointed industry leader.

Sarah Fairhurst, the new vice-chair of the British Protected Ornamentals Association, said: "We can use the current economic conditions to our advantage."

Fewer people were having expensive holidays or buying cars, said Fairhurst, who takes over the chair of the association next year.

"They are looking inwards, towards their homes and gardens, and realising they can add value to their properties by improving their gardens.

"We can put a positive spin on all this doom and gloom. I think the industry is fairly healthy, but the weather is always the great unknown."

Fairhurst is the National Farmers' Union North-West horticulture and potato board chair and a quality manager at Porters Horticultural in Southport.

She was voted vice-chair by fellow members of the association, and becomes chair next June for two years. Fairhurst will replace Phil Austen.

A big goal is to double membership at least to around 140 and she wants"hints and tips" from growers on how the group can offer better value for money.

"It's not just helping people technically, the association is good socially. You can meet other people and bounce ideas off each other on problem solving."


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