The National Farmers’ Union announced its manifesto for the horticulture sector at a one-day meeting in London last week.
The launch on 26 February included presentations on Horticulture Research International. Institute of Horticulture president Geoff Dixon said: “I think the plans for HRI Warwick are making the best of a bad job. The IoH regrets that HRI has been broken up but I am enthusiastic about opportunities for education, research and development. One problem facing the industry is that of technology transfer.
“I hope now that HRI will go down the line of addressing this as Warwick University has a good track record in this area.”
There was some criticism about the focus on edibles. Royal Horticultural Society head of science, advice and libraries Simon Thornton-Wood said: “It was good to hear HRI set out its vision for the future, but I didn’t hear much to do with ornamentals. The sector remains important and there are opportunities that UK growers can meet.”
Johnsons of Whixley chairman John Richardson said he was partly sympathetic towards the focus on edibles at the event, given the importance of the Common Agricultural Policy at this time. “At present, we have not got nursery stock representation established within the union, but the NFU is working with the sector on this.”
NFU horticultural adviser Kate Edge added: “We are working together to produce focused action plans for the ornamentals sector, and working more closely with the Horticultural Trades Association.”
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