Tim Edwards is managing director of Boningale Nurseries.
We face a great opportunity to increase the UK's production of nursery stock, but it will not be exploited without a strategic plan.
Whether you voted to remain in or to exit from the EU, the value of "frictionless trade" has become clear over these past 16 months.
Whether you voted leave or remain all those years ago, a "no-deal" Brexit should worry you.
I find myself in a difficult situation. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be present to hear details of imminent changes to regulations concerning Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) and oak trees. I heard details, asked questions and probed the implications of these changes. That may not sound like a difficult position to be in, yet I am uneasy.
Why don't UK growers produce more of the plants that the UK market demands?
Horticulture could benefit from streamlining in the supply chain.
Regardless of whether or not you voted for Brexit (I voted to remain), most politicians seem to think that it is now going to happen. What will that mean for nursery stock production in the UK?
Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.
At the time of writing - a few days after the general election - sterling has weakened and we still have no idea of what Brexit means.
Increasingly, and rightly, plant health/biosecurity is being recognised as something of which all of us involved in plant supply must be aware.
The Government will always look on "horticulture" as a sector within "agriculture" and, when the trade effectively gets its message across, the Government recognises "nursery stock" as a non-edible subset of horticulture.
No one knows the changes that Brexit will impose on the UK over time. Some will surely be massive and they are already being guessed at. But there will be little changes too and some of those will ripple out over time to surprisingly large effect. I don't pretend to know what will happen, but it's fun to speculate.
I voted to remain in the EU and it took me a while to get my head around the fact that we are leaving. I have never doubted that the UK could do well outside the EU. My concern is that to do well the right political decisions need to be made.
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