The British Tomato Growers’ Association unveils its new team and new strategy for 2024

The British Tomato Growers’ Association promises an “action-packed” new year in which it will work to “support, represent and empower” British tomato producers during increasingly challenging times.

As part of its “new and evolving” strategy for 2024, the BTGA says it will represent growers’ key concerns and challenges in areas of research, cross-sector collaboration, government consultation and more.

In a statement issued today (19 January), the association pledges to ensure member voices and experiences are heard, and plans to improve access to opportunities for business sustainability, development and growth.

2024 heralds a new chapter for the grower association after a series of key personnel changes last year.

Phil Pearson (APS produce) stepped down as Chair of the BTGA Technical Committee in December after more than 20 in the role. And company secretary Julie Woolley retired from the BTGA after more than 20 years of commitment.

In their stead, the BTGA welcomed Simon Conway, HCP CEO, as its new chair, and appointed two new co-chairs: Roly Holt, director of Evesham tomato grower R & L Holt Ltd, and Robert James, technical director Thanet Earth.

Current treasurer Paul Faulkner (EVG Ltd), meanwhile, will take on the role of company secretary.

The BTGA also appointed Phil Morley and Nathalie Key to two newly created technical and communications roles.

Over the course of the coming year, the association says it will focus on addressing key challenges for the sector with research into the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus; R&D funding alternatives; de-carbonisation; pest and disease threat response; and Plant Health inspection changes.

It has also launched a new monthly newsletter to keep members up to date with current agendas, relevant research activity, policy changes and industry news.

“Alongside our social media activity and new LinkedIn page we are prioritising this key aspect of our activity – keeping our members informed and championing the British tomato,” the association said in its statement.

The association added that BTGA’s annual tomato promotional campaign British Tomato Fortnight is planned for 27 May to 9 June, and its member conference is scheduled for 26 September in Warwickshire.