HTA says more ornamental growers are critical to achieving government biosecurity goals and apprenticeship programmes could increase productivity and capacity

The Horticultural Trade Association (HTA) is urging government to recognise the need to boost the number of ornamental growers if they are to achieve their ambitious biosecurity goals.

HTA’s Ornamental Management Committee (OMC) said an increase in ornamental growers was critical to helping to ensure enough plants and trees are produced domestically to underwrite the Government’s plans for climate change mitigation.

The call was made at this month’s OMC committee meeting (July) where members agreed that an uplift towards a strong and vibrant horticultural industry is required to support the Government’s ambitions which include increasing annual tree-planting rates to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK.  As part of this, the OMC also said the benefits of urban tree growing should not be overlooked.

To help accelerate planting and growing, the committee highlighted apprenticeship programmes and the HTA’s new e-learning programme for growers – Basic Principles of Ornamental Nursery Management – as a real opportunity for increasing productivity and capacity.

HTA’s programme has been designed to get more growers into senior positions as well as to help keep growers up to date with changes in the industry.

On another industry matter, the OMC discussed the impact of the economic challenges facing the UK with a rise of input costs causing higher product costs predicted and staffing pressures continuing to be huge in many areas. Members noted that for some businesses, this is becoming a severe constraint on their operations.

The committee endorsed the HTA’s work with DEFRA in pushing for a Trusted Trader Scheme for importers to ease many of the border-related issues. The OMC agreed that the HTA should represent the industry on finding a solution to the Extensions of Authorisation for Minor Uses (EAMUs) hole left by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) as it no longer represents horticulture.

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