The NFU’s latest survey shows that growth in the horticulture sector is under threat as rising costs become more of a concern. With energy costs climbing significantly (218%) over the past few years, and the soaring cost of production in general, many glasshouse growers and other leading horticulture businesses have shelved any plans for growth, putting the industry at risk, says the NFU.
The new report by Promar International for the NFU, found that costs of production have increased by as much as 39% in the past two years. Key inputs including fertiliser by 47% and labour costs by 24% are shown to be behind the rise. This is nothing new for growers who have had over a decade or more of consistently rising costs.
The report says there is likely to be further consolidation in production and distribution. If pressures continue as they are, it will be unsustainable for some businesses, it adds.
According to the NFU Horticulture & Potatoes Board chairman, Martin Emmett, growers are also facing ‘difficult’ customer relationships with prolonged contract negotiations, and contract planning cycles out of sync with production cycles, making it tough for growers to plan long-term form their businesses.
As he rightly says, this needs to change. More than anything, growers need certainty, so they plan. Uncertainty just creates even more concern.
But how do we create a platform for growers and farmers to have the confidence to invest and grow? Firstly, they need to be treated fairly. For a while, the treatment of growers by retailers seemed to have improved. But over the last six-nine months, it appears to be declining again.
Secondly, we desperately need a national strategy for food and farming. If as a country, we want to produce more of our own food we need to properly support the people that are producing that food.
There is no doubt that consumers will continue to back British and the appetite for locally sourced produce is a strong as ever. But that can only continue to succeed if there is enough produce grown in the UK to meet that demand. This challenge needs a solution quickly.
The February issue also includes articles on,
- NFU secures energy support
- Investors back IGS
- Horticulture growth under threat
- EFRA committee investigates
- Fleuroselect latest gold medal winners
- Cyclamen prospect 2024
- Plant demand drives investment
To read these and more from “The Commercial Greenhouse Grower” subscribe today – find out more here.