WORD ON THE GROUND: .Buy British and put confidence back'
We live in challenging and changing times... weather, Brexit, trade deals or the lack of them and now COVID-19, writes flower grower Sue Lamb.
What is going to be the ‘new normal’? Nobody knows.
You can watch the politicians telling us to crack on and within half an hour the scientists say proceed with extreme caution.
Lockdown is still not far away and we are a long way from being free of COVID-19. Who’s right, only time will tell and then we shall have a lot of clever people with the benefit of hindsight.
That said, during the COVID period, there has been significant losses with avenues to market for fresh product closed in some cases or altered in others.
We have suffered increased production and handling costs. I haven’t added up how much hand sanitizer we alone have used and every time I order it has increased in cost.
But generally I think the ornamental sector has done far better than we envisaged in that first week of lockdown.
The government did allow the supermarkets to sell our goods and I think it was appreciated that a little bit of colour in people’s life was a good thing for their wellbeing.
How do we now go forward? The industry sadly lacks confidence and one of the things we have asked the NFU to pursue with the government is a reduction in VAT for British-grown flowers and plants for the coming 12 months to give the industry a much needed boost.
The other ask is for the NFU to investigate if we could get supermarkets to commit to have 50-60% of their pitch being British grown for nine months of the year.
It is fine them signing the ‘Flower and Plant’ pledge but this only sees reward if the product is the right price. We need stability to attract young people into the industry.
For the NFU to achieve a million signatures to support British farming is great but signing a petition is one thing...this needs to filter down when making a purchase.
Look for the flag, hunt out British – it is the only way of helping safeguard jobs and industries.
Plus, you know when buying British, your meat, veg, fruit, flowers and plants have been produced to a high standard using the very best industry practises.