A series of round table discussions on the future of UK horticulture, led by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir John Beddington informed the establishment of the Horticulture Innovation Partnership to support industry because:
- Horticulture and potatoes makes a vital contribution to the nation’s economy, jobs, food security, nutrition, health and well-being.
- To expand its UK and overseas markets, the industry needs continual innovation underpinned by basic and applied research, effective knowledge translation, consultancy and business support.
- Successive cutbacks in applied R&D funding over 30 years have reduced the ‘pull-through’ of fundamental research into commercial practice and weakened access to applied research.
- Commercial pressures have eroded margins and undermined industry confidence to invest in new production facilities and systems.
- The horticulture and potato industry accounts for farm gate sales of around £3.4 billion, employing 100,000 workers. Occupying 5% of the (non-grass) cropped land area it produces 40% of total farm gate crop sales.*
* Source: Defra (2011) and AHDB MI (2011)