Growers gain accreditation funds

£168,000 programme helps local growers supply supermarkets

Spalding Horticultural Training Group has launched a £168,000 programme to help local growers win the accreditation required to supply supermarkets with plants. Funded by the Lincolnshire Leader+ programme, The European Agricultural Guidance & Guarantee Fund, and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the aim is to give growers support and guidance on the implementation of the requirements of the code of practice that relates to their particular crop. Separate codes of practice exist for bedding and pot plants, bulb and cut flowers, hardy nursery stock and pack houses, which require growers to look at all aspects of their business, including health and safety, employee welfare and quality. Project manager Lorna Howitt said: “I am delighted that we have approval for this innovative project. It is a significant achievement and will help both small and medium-sized businesses to continue supplying supermarkets. It is a unique programme, but other areas of the country could be faced with the same dilemma.” Growers will register to the support programme with a contribution of £100 per business and will be able to access all elements of the programme from January 2004. The programme will include workshops, one-to-one support, phone and email help lines and administration support. Participation in the scheme will allow for British Ornamental Plant Producers accreditation, which meets the strategic, production and customer relations requirements of the codes of practice.

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