Mushroom grower group formed to future-proof the industry

A new mushroom grower group, aiming to solve future industry challenges has been formed by delegates at the 2019 AHDB Mushroom Conference.

The Mushroom Grower Group aims to guide the use of grower levy through steering the research and development strategy for the sector.

Steve Tones, AHDB Horticulture strategy director, said: “The objective of the conference was to suggest to the industry that we needed a grower forum and the feedback has been very positive.

It was agreed that the new group will ensure that we continue to steer our priorities at AHDB so the industry can remain resilient through future challenges.

The British Growers’ Association (BGA) and AHDB, along with other organisations, will achieve this by working closely together and feeding this through the Protected Edibles and Mushroom Panel.

Growers will be given the opportunity to identify opportunities for knowledge transfer and represent the industry on key issues.

Key issues to be discussed include:

  • Labour concerns;
  • Loss of crop protection products;
  • Research and development;
  • Developing new market opportunities.

AHDB previously funded the group between 2014 and 2016. This new proposition by BGA entails growers joining the association and sharing the cost of running the group equally between mushroom growers.

External allied trades can also make their contribution but will not have any voting rights.

Jack Ward, chief executive of British Growers’ Association, said: “It’s about creating an opportunity for networking, for the dissemination of ideas and information and bringing people together.

The principles will be similar to the previous Mushroom Grower Group but the style of operation will be very different.

The industry believes it’s not only vital for mushroom growers to have their voice heard but it will also allow the sector to focus its time, money and resources around future innovation for the industry.

The conference also looked at other areas such as innovation.

John Peeters from Mushroom Consulting, in Holland explored the options of an automated picking trolley, a one-layer system and a moving bed system. These systems could provide cost, money and time savings.

For further information on how to get involved in the Mushroom Grower Group contact Nathalie Key via email on: [email protected].