The Fruit and Vegetable
Alliance, the industry organisation established by The Food Foundation in July,
has met with Defra minister George Eustice to urge for more government support
for the sector.
The Edible Horticulture
Roundtable urged the minister to develop a strategy to get British consumers
eating seven portions of fresh produce a day, with as much as possible coming
from UK sources.
The Fruit and Vegetable
Alliance is a diverse group of producer groups and organisations including
British Growers, British Summer Fruits, G’s Fresh, NFU, Organic Farmers and
Growers, Produce World, the Soil Association and others. At the meeting it was
chaired by Jack Ward of British Growers, who said, “The coming together of the
industry, charity and Government bodies signals a positive new approach to
domestic fruit and vegetable production. By focussing on working together to
increase support to the UK fresh produce industry, we can help to ensure that
horticulture gets the recognition and support it deserves.”
Anna Taylor, executive
director of the Food Foundation, added, “We all need to eat more fruit and veg
to optimise our health and prevent disease, and for that we need a thriving
horticulture sector which stimulates consumer demand. Government policy has a
critical role to play in ensuring a productive future for British fruit and veg
growers and we hope this new engagement with Defra will help secure that
future, in the interests of the nation’s health.”
Worcestershire grower Ali Capper has been announced as the new executive chair of trade organisation English Apples & Pears.
Ms Capper, who grows top fruit and hops, and is the current chair of the NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board, will take up the restructured role from outgoing chief executive Steven Munday.
Ali said, “I’m very excited about joining EAP as their new executive chair. I’m passionate about the top fruit industry and as a grower myself I understand the issues and the opportunities that face us. I’m looking forward to working with the EAP board and our new services providers to provide a best-value solution to our grower shareholders”.
A spokesperson for EAP added, “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Steven for all his hard work in delivering our modernisation programme which has put EAP in a much better position to concentrate on the important elements of working on behalf of our growers. It is now clear that we need someone who has an empathy for the industry and who is an experienced and successful lobbyist and we believe that Ali is a perfect fit for this role.”
Going forward EAP will Richmond & Towers to deliver PR and the British Growers Association to perform back-office functions.
According to reports the UK onion harvest has been around a week later than average, with August drilled crops still being lifted into early September.
Jayne Dyas from British Growers told reporters that it was still too early to confirm crop volumes as grading wasn’t complete and many crops still had to reach stores and be cured, but at the end of August the latest estimate of UK production was 466,000 tonnes.
The cool spring resulted in some crops maturing later than normal, although the dry spell from June to July, and later cooler, wetter weather had helped bulbs to bulk up increasing overall yields from earlier estimates. Bulb size has been described as variable to date and the quality is currently unknown until crops are safely dried and in store.
According to Jayne, demand this year has been static, but over the last few years consumption of onions has increased in the UK.