Victoria Prentis CREDIT Chris McAndrew

Victoria Prentis Photo: Chris McAndrew

Farming minister Victoria Prentis will be speaking at the inaugural Festival of Fresh on 13 July.

Defra has confirmed that the minister will take part in an interview discussing issues from the government's sustainabiltiy goals to the future of AHDB.

She joins a heavyweight lineup of speakers focusing on the future of the UK horticulture sector. An industry leaders debate features Lee Abbey (chief horticulture adviser, NFU), Ali Capper (executive chair of British Apples & Pears and chair of the NFU Horticulture & Potatoes Board), Jack Ward (chief executive, British Growers) and Nick Marston (chair, British Summer Fruits), discussing margin pressure and opportunities to grow the industry.

The UN's Marcela Villarreal will talk about the International Year of Fruit & Vegetables with Fruitnet's Mike Knowles, while Dave Bench, chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, will look at the regulatory framework around pesticides and chemical protection.

The EU view of the latest trade situation will be given by Ward Verberck, Brexit consultant at Belgium's VLAM.

The Festival of Fresh takes place online on 13 July and is free to attend for delegates in the UK and overseas. The event is unique in being supported by industry bodies the NFU, British Growers, British Apples & Pears, British Summer Fruits, the National Fruit Show and Worshipful Companies of Fruiterers.

It includes eight sessions across two tracks of content, with over 60 speakers offering their views on a range of topics from science and innovation to The Road to Net Zero, international affairs and retail trends.

Registered delegates can watch videos live, or build their library of content to enjoy on demand later.

To view the full programme and secure your place, visit