Producer groups’ funding to continue until end of Parliament

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) welcomes the announcement from Defra that producer organisations will continue to be funded until the end of the current parliament, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

The confirmation will provide much-needed clarity and certainty for growers who are members of producer organisations, which sell 50% of all British fruit and veg.

While the Government had previously committed to retaining the same cash total in funds for farm support, producer organisations have not received the same confirmation.

The NFU, alongside the British Growers’ Association and other key industry stakeholders, repeatedly raised the issue with ministers to ensure these schemes were treated equally alongside other funding.

Promised as a priority

NFU horticulture and potatoes board chairman Ali Capper said: “I am delighted that Defra has confirmed that producer organisations will continue to be funded until the end of the current parliament.

“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 channelling 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.”

Defra’s statement on the issue said: “We can today confirm that funding for operational programmes which are approved before we leave the EU is 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.”