Farming minister George Eustice MP has told delegates at the Brassica and Leafy Salad Conference how producer organisations can drive research and development in the fresh produce sector.
Following the opening address at the conference, the Defra minister of state’s comments were welcomed by Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association.
“There has never been a time when there has been a greater need for more R&D in the sector. At the present time the UK fresh produce industry only has a 50% share of the home market. With the advent of Brexit there is a huge opportunity for UK producers to increase market share through a process of import substitution,” he says.
“Increased R&D will play an important part in achieving this and producer organisations could provide an ideal focus for greater near market research.
“Better R&D and increased market share will inevitably lead to more investment in the sector, more operational activity, and ultimately more employment opportunities. Producer organisations have proved to be a very successful mechanism for promoting cooperation in the fresh produce sector, and we need to start considering their future role once we leave European Union.”
Dr. Tina Barsby, CEO of NIAB, and Dr. Tim Lacey, campaign manager for Horticulture at Bayer CropScience, also addressed the conference which is held every two years and is organised by the UK Brassica Growers’ Association and British Leafy Salad Association.