Crop association needed for stone fruit, says leading Kent grower Robert Pascall

Fruit growers are lacking a crop association to promote stone fruits after watching tons of this year's bumper plum crop go to waste.

This is the claim of Kent fruit farmer Robert Pascall, who produces 140 tons of Marjories and sits on the NFU Board for Horticulture & Potatoes.

He told Grower that the majority of his crop is still waiting for a customer — and that many plum growers have been forced to dump fruit or simply not harvest the plums as they struggle to find a buyer.

He believes this situation could have been avoided if stone fruit producers had a "bigger voice".

"We've not got a crop group association like most other crops — like British Summer Fruits represents soft fruit. So we really have to shout when we need something."

He added: "The story is last year there was not a good crop so the supermarkets already had their suppliers lined up. Imported plums are very good for some reason and therefore supermarkets are reticent to stock English plums."

Managing director Nick Marston of Berry Gardens, which represents some stone fruit growers, said: "The problem is that British plums are sold through a range of different outlets — reducing the marketing clout of the UK [stone fruit] industry. They are not as well presented as they might be."

For more on this story see next week's Grower.


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