IoH seeks views on merger idea

Recommendation on merger for IoH due in September.

The Institute of Horticulture (IoH) may merge with a high-profile group to give it a more cosmopolitan profile, bulk up its resources and expand its scientific base. IoH president Tony Girard wants the views of his 2,000 members on “integrating” the institute with Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), with more than 5,000 members, most of whom are professionals in environmental, horticultural and chemical sciences. But he hasn’t ruled out merging with a big-name industry association, union, society or institute. “Our group was formed around 20 years ago and things have changed enormously,” he said. “We have to change to meet the growing demands of our members or we will lose relevance and get left behind.” He said the SCI was “energetic, vibrant and modern”. It has a wider international outlook, is well financed and handles IoH admin through a service-level agreement. “Meanwhile, resources have become scarcer at the institute as demands have grown. Everything comes down to economies. We want to expand our science base and this would marry much better environmental, horticulture and chemical sciences.” But he admitted chemicals did not sit well with horticulture and were “very emotive”, even though SCI is heavily involved with horticulture and agriculture. The IoH is due to make a recommendation at September’s annual general meeting. Girard refused to name names, saying: “No decision has been made — we are looking at all possibilities and there are some obvious choices.”

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