Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:46 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Ed Hamer:

We like to think not. Horticulture is quite a unique example. At the moment, in the UK horticulture receives less than 1% of public funding. Since 2005, horticultural production has declined significantly—veg by 26% and fruit by 35%. At the moment, we import 42% of the vegetables and 89% of the fruit that we consume in the UK.

Post-Brexit there will clearly be an opportunity for renewal within the horticulture sector. We would like to see UK consumers prioritise the high standards that we have here in the UK, and to see a new generation of young farmers access some of that current import market. At the moment, we spend £7.8 billion a year on importing horticultural produce that could otherwise be grown here in the UK. We would like to see an opportunity for new entrants to access that market and use that revenue to generate jobs and employment within the sector. We are certainly worried about the risk of importing fruit and veg from countries with lower environmental and social standards, which would undermine production in the UK.