10-point plan outlines actions to support growers ahead of general election

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) has published its first-ever manifesto ahead of the 2024 general election.

Ali Capper

Ali Capper

The manifesto sets out for all political parties 10 clear actions that the organisation says will best secure the future of the British apple and pear industry.

It comes against the backdrop of what the topfruit industry body describes as a crisis facing the nation’s growers. Since early 2022, it points out, British apple growers have faced 30 per cent increases in costs of production and received just an 8 per cent rise in returns from supermarkets.

Almost half (45 per cent) of British apple and pear growers say retailers only buy on price and that it is not a true partnership, and some 70 per cent of growers say thay are less confident than a year ago.

“Any new British government has a great opportunity to turn around the current crisis facing UK apple and pear growers,” explained Ali Capper, executive chair of BAPL. “We have set out clear steps that we believe are both necessary and practical to achieve that.

“We understand that there will be many competing priorities for any new government, but the actions in our manifesto have extremely far-reaching and positive impacts. Implementing these actions will help ensure domestic food security, support the rural economy, our environment and the health of the nation. Those ambitions should be firmly on the agenda of any government.”

10-point plan

The ten actions in the BAPL manifesto cover a range of issues. In particular, it calls for fair contracts with supermarkets, guaranteed labour provision and energy price protection.

BAPL wants to see the “cheap food policy” replaced with a “British food policy”, and wants carbon and environmental schemes to work with and not hinder growers. 

Other key asks cover finance, health, research and innovation, and crop protection. The full manifesto is available to view here.

BAPL will be sending the manifesto directly to the leaders of all the main political parties as well as their key representatives for agriculture, farming, health, finance and labour.

“In addition to sending them our new manifesto, we will be offering face-to-face briefings with the political parties,” Capper added. “We are very keen to work with anyone who is open to our ideas for a stronger and sustainable British apple and pear industry.”