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A report on the importance of horticulture to Worcestershire and to the West Midlands has been enthusiastically welcomed by a county MP.

Mid Worcestershire Peter Luff was responding to a detailed report of the industry, “Getting to the Heart of Horticulture” supported by a range of organisations including Wychavon Council. He said it provided vital evidence “to help us all talk up the importance of growing.”

The report follows a detailed survey of the industry conducted by European Food and Farming Partnership, EFFP, who worked with an industry steering group to produce the study. The steering group included representatives from the National Farmers’ Union, the University of Worcester and Wychavon District Council, among others. It is the subject of a daylong conference today, Friday, at the council’s Civic Centre at Pershore.

Speaking at the conference, Peter said,

“This is the first time we have had real hard evidence of the importance of growing to the economies of both Worcestershire and Herefordshire and to the wider region. It shows that there are exciting prospects for - and high quality jobs in - an industry that is too often misunderstood.

“Food production locally not only satisfies a growing demand for local produce but also contributes to a vital part of the nations’ manufacturing base – food manufacture.

“The report highlights a number of actions that the industry and government need to take to ensure we maximise the benefits of a traditional strength of the county. I will now work with the NFU to help get the message of the report across to MPs and the government.”

The report has helped to get a fuller picture of the region’s credentials as one of the country’s leading horticulture hot-spots and has unearthed some key information on a variety of issues including the sector’s competitiveness and viability.

Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire growers, including potato producers, backed the Defra-funded study. At today’s conference a panel of industry experts discussed issues highlighted in the study including renewable energy, training and water management. Farmers also heard technical talks on integrated pest and disease management in top fruit, vegetables, protected crops and ornamentals.


For further information about the report, contact the NFU West Midlands or Wychavon District Council

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