The first report of its kind on the Horticulture Industry was launched on Stand 261 at the Royal Three Counties Show at 4pm on Friday, 13 June 2014.
“The future of Europe’s horticulture sector – strategies for growth”, has been written by Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre and was adopted by the European Parliament on 11 March 2014.
It looks at the whole sector –from ornamental crops such as flowers through to viniculture, herbs, soft-fruits and vegetables – and recognises the unique contribution that this diverse sector makes to the wider agricultural industry.
“Too often discussions on ‘agriculture’ focus on livestock or arable crops and overlook the huge contribution that horticulture makes to the industry yet horticulture contributes 18% of the total value of agricultural production in the EU from just 3% of the useable agricultural land.” said Miss McIntyre.
“My report looks at the opportunities that this sector has to expand to meet a greater proportion of the market demand for fruit and vegetables, both within the EU and in export markets.
“Horticulture is an exciting and innovative sector that is reliant on a variety of plant protection products. The Commission needs to take a risk based approach to the regulation of these products. Minor uses are particularly vulnerable. It would be very regrettable to reach a position where manufacturers do not develop new products for the EU market but choose instead to focus on other markets with lower regulatory costs.
“In addition, the Commission should reassess, in light of new scientific evidence, the current ban on the use of some Neonicotoinoids and should properly assess the economic and environmental impact of such restrictions before bringing them into force. Furthermore, the potential of precision farming in horticulture needs to be taken into account. Such techniques could significantly reduce the use of chemicals in horticulture.
“Horticulture has a bright future and my report highlights the opportunities for growth – opportunities that many British growers are working hard to take advantage of so that consumers continue to benefit from high quality produce at a fair price.”