WORD ON THE GROUND: We deserve a fair price for a good product
We are trading in very difficult times with little support from Government for our industry. Prices for consumables continue to rise sharply and there is a national shortage of cardboard.
Brexit has increased costs for bringing in bulbs and young plants. Wages are due to increase in April and so they should – our people work hard for their money, work long hours and often have to multi task or battle with weather elements. One professional body quotes labour as increasing 34% since 2016 and often is 40% of our costs.
There are also labour shortages, for as much as we have campaigned to the government,the Seasonal Workers’ Pilot Scheme is not open to ornamental horticulture businesses.
Prices are slow to rise in the shops – many of our items seem to be capped at certain prices which supermarkets are not prepared to break – but the result will be we shall see a decrease in the growing of ornamentals which will mean far more imports, which opens the door to far more pests and diseases.
All businesses, no mater what it is, should be able to sell the business on paper to the next generation but I fear we are reaching a time when this would be a hard task for ornamental growers.
We are going to have to see change and proper prices are going to have to be paid for the products – standards and commitment to producing a good flower or plant need to be rewarded.
We should not be embarrassed to be the right side of the line. Ornamentals have always stood on their own, without government subsidies and hand outs and neither of those give strength to an industry... but a fair price for a good product has to be recognised.