Publisher, former government minister and keen gardener Lord Heseltine has called on the horticulture industry to embrace the opportunities created by globalisation rather than pursuing national interests.
Heseltine, opening the 25th IPM horticulture trade show in Essen, Germany on 26 January, said: “The world is changing faster than ever. This industry is concentrating, with more larger firms and fewer smaller ones. Competition is intensifying from overseas. None of this is preventable. There is a huge new market — six billion people on the planet, and a three to five per cent annual increase in the world’s wealth. Technology is creating opportunities beyond the dreams of our grandparents.”
The development of new propagating techniques was one example benefiting producers, he said.
He added that IPM served a vital role in promoting these opportunities, though he pointed out: “The original idea of IPM was to help keep foreigners out. Not many people believe in that any more.”
Using the analogy of the international success of his Haymarket publishing firm, which publishes Horticulture Week along with 180 other titles in 30 languages, he said: “If you do well in one market, there are 80 similar markets around the world. But to excel, you have to put quality first.”
ZVG (Central Horticulture Association) president Heinz Herker agreed, describing fears over globalisation as “wrong”. He added: “Business has recognised the need for international competition.”
* This year’s show attracted 57,800 visitors from 90 countries. Overseas visitors made up 27 per cent of the figure and 1,400 companies from 42 countries exhibited.
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