New EAP Chair Calls For Government Action To Secure Industry Growth Plans

Ali Capper, newly appointed Chair of English Apples & Pears, has issued a clear call for Government action in a response to DEFRA’s Health & Harmony Consultation paper entitled ‘An Apple a Day’.  The response lays out 12 actions that will directly impact on industry growth and highlights health and sustainability as key reasons for urgent Government support.

Orchard fruit has developed significantly over the last decade. Today 42% of all fresh apples and pears consumed in the UK are British.  But the industry is not resting on its laurels and has ambitions to grow with its sights set on supplying well over 60% of eating apples to British consumers by 2030.  However, without Government action in key areas the industry fears this will be challenging.   

“The premise is simple – we are asking Government to urgently support policy and campaigns that will increase the consumption of British grown apples & pears.  British orchards are capable of delivering public good – it’s good for the environment and the fruit produced is good for the nation’s health too,” said Capper.

“We’re ambitious to grow the size of the British crop.  We know this is possible but we will need action in key areas in order to make this happen.  In the current climate we fail to see how supporting the industry can be anything but positive.”

The 12-point plan calls for action across key areas including PO funding, immigration policies and match funded investment (Producer Organisation) productivity schemes.

Members of English Apples and Pears are throwing open their doors to Government in a bid to showcase the industry first hand.

“We’d welcome the opportunity to show Government representatives our best in class British orchards, so we’re offering an open invitation to visit our members’ orchards and sample our national fruit.  The modern British orchard is highly productive and has potential to deliver extraordinary environment benefits too,” added Capper.

For further information please contact the EAP press office on 020 7554 4499 or email Robwaldon@rtc.london

The 12-point plan calls for Government to act in the following areas:

The 12-point plan calls for Government to act in the following areas:

  1. Commit to continue the current PO funding mechanism until 2022
  2. Support campaigns designed to increase the consumption of British grown fruit and vegetables
  3. Consider bespoke environmental schemes suitable for orchards
  4. Deliver immigration policies that will urgently provide a permit or visa scheme for non-EU seasonal workers and a scheme for future EU workers
  5. Co-ordinate full, part-time and CPD courses for orchardists through the relevant educational institutions
  6. Add Orchard Establishment items, specialist orchard items, automated and robotic harvest equipment and the marketing activities of trade organisations to future capital grant schemes
  7. Provide match-funded investment productivity schemes and to recognise the higher value of long term grower co-operatives and collaborations in these schemes
  8. Provide a more enabling and holistic regulatory framework for the approval of PPP’s and to provide parity for UK growers with EU growers BEFORE the UK leaves the EU
  9. Provide bespoke R&D funding to speed up breeding programme successes and pest and disease understanding.
  10. Continue to support The Grocery Code Adjudicator and ensure that the code is extended to include growers with indirect contracts with retailers
  11. Match-fund grower investment in insurance schemes and export development and to update planning guidance to recognise the importance or rural business development
  12. Provide a free and frictionless trade environment and to ensure that imported produce matches UK production standards.

For further detail see the ‘An Apple a Day’ response paper