NFU chief horticulture adviser Chris Hartfield said: "We are looking at how it could be broadened — that is, lower the retailer’s turnover threshold — and deepened to cover the relationship between the grower and the intermediary, and also to bring ornamental plant suppliers within the scope of the code. That sector faces the same challenges and it’s logical to treat it in the same way."
British Protected Ornamentals Association chairman Greg Hill said: "It would be good to see ornamentals included. We are in with perfume and petrol [outside the code], but in retail terms a poinsettia is closer to a carrot than a hibiscus. The average shopper visits a garden centre every three months, but a supermarket three times a week."
Boningale Nurseries chairman Tim Edwards spoke on the National Living Wage at the event. "Most of our staff are paid a little over the current minimum wage, more in line with the living wage. It’s manageable for us, though not totally without pain. It will hit businesses with large numbers of workers for peak periods," he said.
"Ornamental growers should be here to learn from fresh-produce suppliers. Waitrose and Aldi are doing a bit of ornamental and nurserymen are getting excited about doing, say, 73,000 hibiscus for Aldi, who will need that grower. There will only be a few who can do that crop. A lot of stock comes in from abroad, but issues like plant health help British-grown."