Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel & South Downs, attends virtual nursery visit and horticulture discussion
by Tess Skidmore
Growers set the scene for a local MP on Friday (22/10) when Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel & South Downs, attended a virtual visit to Binsted Nursery and met with The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and members of the West Sussex Growers Association (WGA).
Having been given a virtual tour of the nursery, which is part of Tristram Plants, a large-scale grower of garden herbs and perennials, Andrew heard from representatives from horticulture’s grower sector, who highlighted three key areas of concern.
Labour shortages, issues caused by post-Brexit import/export rules and sustainability were among the topics discussed during the meeting, and members of the WGA shared their first-hand experience with each issue.
Andrew Griffith said: “Arundel & South Downs’ plant growers make a significant contribution not only to our local area but the economy and environment of our country as a whole. Thank you to Binsted Nurseries, the HTA and WSGA for hosting the virtual meeting. It was good as always to hear directly from them on the latest issues facing their sector on seasonal labour, cross border trade with the EU and all of the positive work they are doing on sustainability. I’ll continue to represent our local growers in Parliament including working with them to reduce red tape and bureaucracy to ensure the sector can continue to grow to enable it to further increase the contribution it makes in the fight against climate change.”
Martin Emmett, Strategy Director at Tristram Plants and Chair of the HTA’s Ornamentals Management Committee, said: “The industry recently published research which highlights the benefits of horticulture working more closely with government to improve the productivity and sustainability of the industry, so it was encouraging that Andrew was interested in taking part in the virtual visit as well as the meeting that followed. I think we gave a useful overview of where we face challenges and how we might begin to overcome them with some support from government.”
John Hall, Consultant to the West Sussex Growers Association, said: “The Association appreciated Andrew taking the time to attend our meeting, hear about the challenges we face and where government support could make the biggest difference to our ability to grow production. There is no doubt that labour shortages and the energy crisis is having a detrimental effect on future production plans for the Commercial Horticultural Industry.”
The Horticultural Trades Association and West Sussex Growers Association are committed to working together with Government on these issues moving forward.