Static plant prices may force UK growers out of business

Warning from senior members of the horticulture industry

British plant growers could go out of business and overseas nurseries take their customers if prices do not rise, senior members of the horticulture industry have claimed. A leading grower, who didn’t want to be named, has found in his annual audit that his plant prices have barely risen for 14 years. He said: “I don’t know how we’ve managed to stay in business.” The grower has collected the figures based on a basket of 18 different plants since the 1970s. He added: “With amenity sales we have to tender competitively against each other so that prices get driven down except when there are shortages.” He said small Dutch and Belgian growers with minimum overheads have cut out the Dutch exporters who co-ordinated their supplies, taking about 30 per cent of cost out of the chain. HTA adviser David Brown said: “Costs are not going to come down. Someone will end up growing the plants and whether that is in the UK or overseas is of great concern. “I think this shows how competitive the marketplace is, particularly because of imports, costs rising inexorably year on year and the inability to get the market price up. “This is a worry, which is why the HTA is introducing the lean programme (HW, 13 April) and funding the Midland Regional Growers’ shared transport scheme.”

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