Hewson on...Looking for opportunities in the aftermath of Brexit

So that's it then. Brexit it is. For better or worse, richer or poorer. Over and out. Literally. Into the current power vacuum come fear, uncertainty, mass hysteria and much doom and gloom.

I’m not here to rehearse the arguments or take sides — my view is what’s done is done and it’s time for us all to calm down. Look forward, not back.

For UK Horticulture PLC, my sense is that actually there is much to look forward to. For starters, I don’t see any future restrictions on free labour movement - if such restrictions come to pass — being a particular problem.

Yes, we rely hugely on migrant labour in the nursery trade, but if skills are required and there is work to be done, some such movement will continue.

Similar remarks apply to the science community. The research and knowledge transfer work at which we excel will continue to underpin the competitiveness of our industry in what is an increasingly global market. It isn’t going to be abandoned.

Project collaborations will remain — good science can’t work without them — and if we need particular expertise on, say, crop protection or nutrition from our Dutch, French or German partners, then this will surely continue too, even if the process becomes a little more complicated. Where there’s a will there’s usually a way, right?

Speaking of global markets, what of import substitution, for which fresh opportunities may now emerge? If Dutch liners or German trees become more costly as sterling fluctuates, why not grow more of our own and further exploit the home-grown brand?

Our quality has never been in doubt. I see it everyday. Should exports become cheaper, we could do more of this too. Okay, we may need to brush up on our sales and marketing, and we will need to deliver continuity of supply, but it can be done.

In essence, what does all this really mean? Well, it means instead of moaning, let’s be positive and seize the opportunities. The whole experience could actually prove to be quite liberating.

Andrew Hewson is a freelance writer and columnist

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