The UK horticulture industry will have to change dramatically if it is to combat threats in the future, according to a report prepared for think-tank the National Horticultural Forum (NHF).
NHF consultancy Promar International, which wrote the report, warns that the industry will have to confront issues including costs, the decline in domestic labour, competition for imported labour and attitudes towards horticulture as a career.
It says the future “looks especially difficult for small-scale producers unless they can access niche-market opportunities”.
The report is based on analysis of hardy nursery stock, brassicas, soft fruit and protected edibles.
Its recommendations include finding niche markets, research cutbacks, improvements in education, training, production, logistics and marketing, and adopting a “customer-focused approach to building a service-orientated image”.
RHS director general Andrew Colquhoun, who chairs the NHF steering committee, said the future of UK horticulture will be based on a smaller group of highly professional, market-attuned players.
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