West Midlands horticultural study to be revealed

The ‘Getting to the Heart of Horticulture’ research project got off the ground just over 12 months ago as part of a bid to help boost farm businesses and explore what is being grown on thousands of hectares across the region due to a discussion at the FPJ Conferences - West Midlands event.

Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire growers, including potato producers, backed the Defra-funded study and the final report will be launched at Pershore Civic Centre on 13 January. Industry individuals are welcome to join.

At the launch’s morning session a panel of industry experts will discuss issues highlighted in the study including renewable energy, training and water management. Farmers will also hear technical talks in the afternoon on integrated pest and disease management in top fruit, vegetables, protected crops and ornamentals.

European Food and Farming Partnerships (EFFP), worked with an industry steering group to produce the study. The steering group included representatives from the National Farmers’ Union, the University of Worcester and Wychavon District Council, among others.

The report has helped to get a fuller picture of the region’s credentials as one of the country’s leading horticulture hot-spots and has unearthed some key information on a variety of issues including the sector’s competitiveness and viability.

Neil Adams, of EFFP, said: “The report results are very interesting and show a sector demonstrating growth in several areas, an important driver for the West Midlands’ economy.

“Getting to the heart of horticulture has also highlighted sector challenges and how growers can succeed in a highly competitive market."