The All-Party Parliamentary and Horticulture Group (APPGHG) has called on the government to recognise the value of horticulture and support the industry accordingly.
The message was delivered at the APPGHG’s annual reception where it launched it launches its new ‘Securing the future of the gardening and horticulture sector’ report following a nine month enquiry. Among the report’s recommendations are: review plant health legislation develop plant health standards to mitigate against biosecurity risks; incentivise plant production; match-fund R&D; improve the quality of data about the industry; consider the impact of legislation on ornamental horticulture; and work with the industry to promote it as a highly skilled career.
Co-Chairmen of the APPGHG, Baroness Fookes DBE and Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, said, “Once a Cinderella – largely disregarded despite her many virtues – horticulture is now being recognised for the heroine she is. However, if it is to fulfil its full potential for good we need the Government to recognise that horticulture affects not simply DEFRA but other Government Departments such as BEIS, Education, Health and Social Care and International Trade. We urgently need a unified approach or – to use that rather hackneyed phrase – joined-up Government!”
Speaking at the reception, Defra minister George Eustice commented, “The horticulture and landscaping sector makes an important contribution to our economy and I would like to thank the APPG for its report and recommendations. Our Agriculture Bill sets out to reward the work undertaken to protect and improve the environment, including where benefits are delivered by the horticulture industry. I encourage all those with an interest to engage with the Bill as it goes through Parliament.”
Photo Caption: Alan Titchmarsh, Baroness Fookes and George Eustice MP at the APPGHG reception