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What is the future of the horticultural sector?

The Horticultural Sector Committee publishes its call for evidence, inviting the public to provide their views on the future of the sector as part of its inquiry.



Aim of the inquiry

Horticulture is a branch of agriculture that relates to the production, cultivation and management of edible fruits and vegetables, and ornamental plants. The horticultural sector is worth billions to the UK economy and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, including seasonal workers from overseas. It is also a significant contributor to UK food security and tourism.


This inquiry will consider the challenges, opportunities and risks faced by the horticultural sector, including the impact of rising input costs and labour and skills shortages, and how innovative technologies might address these issues and other pressing challenges such as the impact of climate change on productivity and food supply. In addition, it will explore how policy can support the sector in meeting the Government’s ambitions for levelling up and post-Brexit trade policy.


Questions


The public are encouraged to write to the Committee on the following issues:


  • The impact of climate change on the sector, and how it can be mitigated

  • Skills and recruitment challenges

  • Funding for science, research and development

  • Benefits and challenges of implementing technological developments

  • Resources and guidance available to organisations to help them to implement new technology and reduce their environmental impact

  • The impact of trade on businesses, the environment and bio- and phytosanitary issues

  • Lessons learned from horticultural policy and best practice

  • The effectiveness of Government planning and policymaking

  • The impact of recent legislation on the sector

  • Horticulture’s contribution to mental and physical health


Chair's comments


Lord Redesdale, Chair of the Committee, said:


“Horticulture is worth billions to the UK economy. From healthy fruit and vegetables to the multitude of crop and plant varieties that can be grown in the UK, it is a fundamental component of a secure food supply, supports the wellbeing of millions of people, and could provide innovative solutions to the challenges presented by climate change. Despite this, horticulture has been continually overlooked and undervalued.


“The industry has long been calling for more support to realise these benefits. Our inquiry will explore what is needed to ensure the sector can lead the country towards net zero, deliver skilled green jobs, and innovate to put the UK on the map as a science superpower.


“Our Committee would like to hear from a range of individuals and organisations, from farm workers, growers and gardeners to genomics researchers and robotics experts. Tell us how we can make these ambitions a reality.”


The Committee is particularly keen to receive submissions from those working in the industry.


The deadline for submissions is midday on Monday 10 April.

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