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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:24 pm on 13th February 2020.

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Jyoti Fernandes:

We believe in smaller units, where you do not need to bring in loads of seasonal workers. With smaller-scale market gardens and horticultural units that pay well, you can attract British workers and will not need to bring in so many people from other countries in order to pick those crops. We see a flourishing, home-grown fruit industry, where you can bring in more people to do that kind of work.

That needs investment, access to land, grants for people to get into that kind of small-scale market gardening and horticultural units and to plant fruit trees into mixed farms, and training. It needs routes to market, which means processing facilities, so that you can make apple juices and that type of thing, and so that you can store those things, add value to them and get better value back on them. It needs distribution facilities within local market economies. That might be market facilities in town, online distribution services or co-operatives that try to process those fruits and get them to market, so that you get a good price for them. It needs all those sorts of investment in our national infrastructure in fruit, fruit processing and distribution.