Ornamental plants and flowers import value rose by 10% in 2016

Latest Government figures have shown imports rose to a value of £1,176bn from £1,064bn in 2016 - despite the Brexit vote on June 23.

The report, National Statistics: Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2016 shows home production grew from £1.169bn to £1.202bn in value, while Brexit led to sterling weakening against the euro, but imports of plants still rose from by more than £100m.

The value of cut flower imports rose to £749m from £665m despite campaigns for consumers to buy more British blooms. This was £57m more than any time in the last five years.

Indoor plant imports rose from £127m to £136m, while outdoor plants imports rose from £62m to £74m in the provisional figures. Outdoor plant imports were £8m more than at any time in the last five years.

Tree imports fell from £56m to £52m, while foliage imports fell from £42m to £38m. Bulb imports rose from £71m to £75m.

Exports rose from £53m to £65m, mainly thanks to a £6m increase in cut flower exports from £23m to £29m. Some £3m of outdoor plants were exported, the same as in 2015.

But home output of plants and flowers was also up, by almost 5%.

Defra said: "The value of production in the ornamental sector was up 4.7% to £1.2 billion in 2016. The flowers and bloom sector held up well in 2016 with some sectors increasing their market share. Demand for narcissi increased both in the UK and Europe.

"The hardy nursery stock production area has remained largely static, with modest increases in container production and prices remaining broadly level with slight increases to reflect rising costs.

"Within the pot plant sector, production estimates and unit values for most crops have remained stable. Production in poinsettia, New Guinea Impatiens, begonia and chrysanthemum showed slight reductions, though pot rose production rose as demand has increased. The value of pot plant production in 2016 was £892 million."

It added: The weakening pound against the euro and US dollar helped stabilise prices for both inputs and outputs. The average producer price of agricultural products fell slightly (0.5%) while the average price of agricultural inputs fell by 2.1%."

The 2015/16 annual Farm Business Income survey released in April 2017 showed the UK was 51% self-sufficent in ornamental crops.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/615965/AUK-2016-25may17i.pdf

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