Dixon on... What we need for a better 2010

Send 2009 packing. Pretty consistently, it has been marred with credit shortages and good businesses going to the wall.

Vegetable and fruit growers have suffered, spring sowing was well down, good companies failed and now bills are being left unpaid.

As consumers' affluence disappeared, with it went organic production. The rigidity of supermarket power lacking any shred of recognition of shared responsibility with British growers stands as a hallmark of the year.

Contraction in the number of producers will most likely continue into 2010. Some in the ornamentals sector have enjoyed a good year, while others suffered. Across the board, depressed consumers cut the quality of their diet but still looked for one or two of life's pleasures. However, selling was not easy.

Money still flowed for environmental greening. Much of this was previously committed tax-spend, which is likely to dry up in 2010 as cuts bite into local and national public budgets. Student numbers taking college courses for basic further education were up by as much as 20 per cent in places. That was probably an alternative to life on the dole. Higher education for horticulture was inextricably caught up by arguments on fees, caps to student numbers and the continuing antagonism in student attitudes towards science-led courses.

So where to in 2010? A smaller fruit and vegetable industry with possibly lost research capacity, little demand for landscaping and disillusioned students with no employment. Yet horticulture's products meet every criterion for increasing consumers' physical and mental health and welfare.

There ought to be good cheer in 2010 but only if there is sufficient unity of purpose to create it. A much-needed lead from The Horticultural Development Company promoting horticulture's value for society would be warmly welcomed. The organisation is the sole remaining over-arching body.

Professor Geoffrey Dixon is managing director of GreenGene International


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What is being done to develop biocontrols against orchard pests?

What is being done to develop biocontrols against orchard pests?

The SIVAL horticultural trade show in Angers, France, this week (16-18 January) heard about several initiatives to promote more environmentally sustainable orchard growing.

What does the 25-year plan mean for growers?

What does the 25-year plan mean for growers?

Published on 11 January, the Government's long-awaited 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment' brings together a number of policy strands into a single framework that will impact many sectors, not least fresh produce, over the coming decades.

What will 'embracing change' mean for horticulture?

What will 'embracing change' mean for horticulture?

At the Oxford Farming Conference, whose theme was "embracing change", Defra secretary Michael Gove expanded on what a post-Brexit UK agriculture and land-use policy will look like and how it will impact farmers and growers.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon