The confirmation provides much certainty for growers who are members of producer organisations, which sell 50 per cent of all British fruit and veg
Defra has announced producer organisations will continue to be funded until the end of the current parliament, even in the event of a no-deal scenario.
In a statement, Defra said confirmed funding for operational programmes which are approved before the UK leaves the EU was guaranteed until the end of this Parliament.
“This is in line with the Government’s Manifesto Commitment to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support to the end of this Parliament, expected in 2022.
“This guarantee remains in place, even in the event of a No Deal with the European Union.”
Growers groups have welcomed the news. 50 per cent of British fruit and vegetables are sold through producer organisations.
NFU horticulture and potatoes board chairman Ali Capper said she was delighted with the news.
“I raised the issue personally with Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove at the NFU’s fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference where he promised to make this a priority.
“Along with the other growers in these groups, I am extremely relieved that he fulfilled his promise by providing a much-needed answer.
“These groups provide significant value to the horticulture sector by encouraging co-operation between growers, increasing productivity and channeling investment in the latest technology.
“The NFU is keen to continue working with Defra to shape the future of producer organisations and deliver the benefits more widely across the horticulture and potatoes sector.”
The British Growers Association also responded positively to the news.
Jack Ward, British Grower’s chief executive said: “This announcement, together with the inclusion of a framework for Producer Organisations in the Agriculture Bill, gives a degree of certainty for the fresh produce industry and for the 32 Producer Organisations currently in operation.
“This has been a team effort involving the NFU, Savill’s, and the team at Defra, who have all played their part and worked with British Growers to bring us to this point.
“The arguments for a strong Producer Organisation scheme remain the same: we need at least a level playing field with our competitors in Europe, and POs provide a simple, efficient and cost-effective way to promote innovation and collaboration in the sector.
“We look forward to working together over the coming months to nail down the details.”