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Brexit fears for horticulture

Courgette Parador
One I trialled in 2013 - courgette Parador

Beat price rises by growing your own and investing in UK garden products

eu badgeNervousness about how the UK’s exit from the European Union will affect the horticultural industry is being voiced by companies. Bearing in mind we are net importers of goods in the horticultural sector from Europe, especially Holland, it seems we will have to endure price rises.

Analysts at Dutch bank Rabobank, in a report published last week, claimed the UK’s self-sufficiency for fruit and vegetables is estimated to be less than 40 per cent making its food and agriculture sector vulnerable to trade deals.

The report, Weighing up Future Food Security in the UK: The Impact of the Brexit on Food & Agribusiness in Europe and Beyond, said that although details of British trade agreements are unknown, the cost of exports will undoubtedly increase.

The bank predicted price rises by as much as eight per cent for fruit, vegetables, flowers and olive oil.union badge

On the brighter side, consumers have been urged by seedsmen Thompson & Morgan to grow your own and avoid the price hikes.

Commercial director Paul Hansord said: “It’s a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned and we’re here to help with lots of ‘how to’ videos and advice on our website.

“People are so used to getting all their food from shops and supermarkets, but if prices go up as suggested, due to import costs once we’ve left the EU, we’ll need to grow a lot more of our own produce.

“The fact is that it’s really not difficult to grow at least some of your own fruit and veg.

Fresh and wholesome

“Home-grown is always going to taste better than shop-bought and when you grow your own, there’s no need to worry about pesticides, food miles, the weeks that some shop-bought fruit and veg spend in cold storage; you just pick it or dig it up, and enjoy it – fresh and wholesome – straight from your garden or allotment.”

For help and guidance on growing your own fruit, vegetables and flowers, go to www.thompson-morgan.com/gardening-guides, www.thompson-morgan.com/gardening-for-beginners or www.thompson-morgan.com/how-to-garden.

Picture; Whatshed.co.uk
Price rises in garden buildings are expected due to the increase in the cost of imported raw materials. Picture; Whatshed.co.uk

Meanwhile, major garden building comparison website, WhatShed.co.uk, has predicted price rises of garden buildings of up to 10 per cent and job freezes or losses as imported raw material cost more due to the drop in the value of the pound.

Mercia Garden Products and Shire Garden Buildings said most manufacturers have absorbed the costs, due to many ‘Blue Chip’ high-street retailers who had fixed price agreements in place – but price increases will be passed on to consumers from this month.

Mercia Garden Products managing director Terry Waldron said:  “As the dust has settled, and reality set in, this has now led to ‘Blue Chip’ customers accepting cost price increases, albeit very reluctantly.”

The trend for 2017 is for consumers to buy a smaller and/or lower specification building, leading to a tightening in the market.

On a positive note, sales have risen during the last two years and as people go for ‘staycations’ this year due to the weak pound, so they are more likely to make the most of their gardens.

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