Brexit: Ornamentals production

Opportunities

- There is an opportunity for import substitution because of the fall in the value of sterling and potential trade restrictions on Dutch imports. Cut flowers and hardy plants are also opportunities.

- Producing more machinery, fertilisers and chemicals in the UK. Constructing more glass to house additional plant production.

- A potential recession could mean more gardeners grow their own fruit and vegetables, as happened in the last recession in 2008 and in the mid 1970s recession.

- There is the potential for greater input into crop-protection policy because the UK Government will not have to follow EU-led bans on products such as glyphosate and neonicotinoids.

Challenges

- Higher input costs of young plants, fuel and fertilisers imported into the UK caused by exchange rate changes and potential tariff increases. Seed types, sprays and machinery could also become more expensive.

- Consumer uncertainty may mean lower spending on non-essential items such as ornamental plants. Bank nervousness may weaken investment opportunities, while growers might shelve expansion plans until markets stabilise.

Comment

Boningale Nurseries chairman Tim Edwards

"The list of EU standards and regulations that currently affect us would be almost endless. I really don't think two years is anything like long enough to put it all in place. There is a mountain of work to be done by Government before we can come out and float away on our own. The trade - and all industries - will need to be proactively surveying the landscape and trying to establish what needs to be done, and make sure it's being done by Government in the right way. Organisations like the NFU, BALI and the HTA need to dip into reserves now and say we are going to put the time, effort and resources into finding out what needs doing."

Hayloft Plants owner Derek Jarman

"In these uncertain times we will not be recruiting any new members of staff. We have stopped any capital expenditure, which means we won't be relocating our main site."

Garden industry specialist Ian Riggs

"A future bonus area is plant health, where variable standards of inspection and enforcement in certain areas of the EU have long been a concern. A secure plant health border would be welcomed by all sectors. Those businesses that rely on sourcing and trading plants, products and services that are imported may find themselves seeking unexpected price increases from customers. Price rises usually result in caution in initially ordering and decreasing demand."

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