This contract relates to a range of bioactive controls, available from a number of different plant types, and bred by two of Europe's leading specialists.

Tony Hayter, technical adviser to Hargreaves Plants, commented: 'With so many chemicals being de-listed, and public opinion strongly favouring natural or organic control wherever possible, it was inevitable that plant breeders would seize the opportunity.

'Initial tests show that the species available to us offer a range of advantages for the control of nematodes, fungi and other pests, while also functioning in an environment-friendly way as green manures, improving soil structures and limiting nitrogen waste through leaching to the groundwater.' Dr Hayter added: 'We expect to have some promising results within a couple of years and feel confident that plant raisers and growers will show immediate interest. Certainly multiple retailers will want to support this type of technical and environment-friendly improvement in plant and fruit production.'