Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd launches in the UK and announces their CEO

Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd (HCP) has formally launched and is pleased to announce that five members of staff from AHDB have joined the new organisation effective 15 April 2023. In addition, the transfer of the relevant information and residual levy funds (as a grant) have also been agreed with AHDB in order that HCP can continue the important Extension of Authorisation for Minor Uses (EAMU) and Emergency Authorisation (EA) work as seamlessly as possible for the Horticulture sector.

HCP is also delighted to announce the appointment of a new part-time CEO, Simon Conway. Simon has most recently been a managing director at Vitacress Salads and Herbs and has been with the Vitacress business since 2006, in commercial and marketing roles prior to taking up his current position in 2016. Simon is a proven operational leader, with experience of change management, revenue growth and experience of developing new market segments and products. Speaking on his appointment, Simon said “I am excited to be joining HCP and leading this new organisation at the start of its journey through the vital work it is going to do for the benefit of the UK horticultural sector.”

“Simon has an excellent understanding of the horticulture sector, has led significant changes at Vitacress and has a track record of building strong staff teams through coaching and empowerment. Simon has plenty of experience in delivering a strong sustainability focus in business strategy, net zero and biodiversity planning and is passionate about the future of the EAMU and EA service for UK Horticulture,” explained Ali Capper chairman of the board of HCP. “Simon is joining us from mid-June and until then Jack Ward from British Growers Association has offered to continue to steer the direction of HCP.”  Capper added, “The industry is very grateful to Jack for his efforts to make HCP happen and to help ensure it launches successfully.”

The new HCP team includes Lindsey Daniel, Carlos Duarte, Grace Emeney, Joanna McTigue and Kim Parker.

Lindsey Daniel has been in the crop protection team for four years and acts as the team co-ordinator and leads on website communications for growers and agronomists.

Carlos Duarte has a degree in plant pathology and a Masters in Engineering, Agronomy and Agricultural Engineering. He has a farming background and is a data management specialist. At HCP he will continue to focus on soft fruit and tree fruit crop protection issues.

Grace Emeny has over 10 years’ experience in Horticulture scientific research with a Zoology undergraduate degree and MRes degree in Biology. Grace has been part of the EAMU team for over a year, she works alongside legume, asparagus, rhubarb, sweetcorn and cucurbit growers, whilst liaising with researchers and plant protection product manufacturers to bring new crop protection solutions to growers.

Dr Joanna McTigue focuses on ornamental crops, protected vining crops and mushrooms. Jo also specialises in worker exposure risk assessment and manages the crop association risk registers to ensure that the main priorities are recognised for each crop group. Jo champions biopesticides within the team; with a PhD and research background in viral and fungal control of lepidopteran pests, she works to ensure that a greater range of biological products become available to growers. Prior to joining AHDB, Jo worked in contract research, conducting and then managing efficacy field trials, and compiling reports and Biological Assessment Dossiers to support product registrations.

Dr Kim Parker has over 20 years’ experience of the UK horticulture industry. She has specialised in minor uses pesticide regulation since 2021 with responsibility for field vegetables, leafy salads and herbs. Kim coordinates emergency authorisation applications and residue studies for the team and also leads on seed treatment issues. With a PhD in plant pathology, Kim worked for ADAS from 2000 doing applied research on crop diseases, with a focus on field vegetables and protected edibles, before joining AHDB in 2016 as a research manager and crop protection scientist.

Capper said: “We are very pleased that the HCP team will be able to deliver continuity to the Horticulture industry and we are so pleased to be able to welcome each of them into the newly formed HCP.”

HCP Ltd will operate on a ‘not for profit’ basis and will run and be funded by the crop associations. The HCP team will manage the EAMUs process, Emergency approval (EA) applications, residue and efficacy trials and British Growers will provide the administrative back up, including invoicing crop associations for their growers’ voluntary subscriptions. HCP will also look to set up an invoicing process for those not in crop association membership. The intention is to keep the new organisation as lean as possible but at the same time fit for purpose. The team members email addresses will change to forename.surname@hcpltd.org and their mobile numbers remain the same.

The HCP Board members comprise: Rob James (Thanet Earth, Protected Edibles), Rob Parker (G’s, Leafy Salads), Sam Rix (British Onions), Robin Squance (BPOA), Louise Sutherland (British Berry Growers), Derek Wilkinson (Sandfield Farms, Asparagus Growers Association), Keston Williams (Barfoots), Ali Capper (British Apples & Pears Ltd).

For further information please see: https://britishgrowers.org/horticulture-crop-protection/  whilst a new HCP website is being developed. Horticulture archive information will remain available on a AHDB archive website: https://horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/horticulture

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