How is coronavirus impacting the UK’s horticulture sector?

SALTASH, UK: In a video he posted to YouTube, managing director Bruce Harnett of Kernock Park Plants explains that the challenges his company and the country’s industry are facing are multiple.

UK plant nurseries have reduced the number of workers and are dealing with a ‘deluge’ of  delays and massive cancellations. Harnett references the incredible amounts of cut flowers recently being destroyed in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands and fears the same will be happening in the UK with plants in the coming weeks and months. Unless decision makers come together to rescue the industry.

Bruce stresses that the sector is usually self-sufficient and resilient but now sees no other ways than urging decision makers to consider a compensation scheme to cover cost of produce if not the loss of revenues.

He concludes by pointing to the value of the horticulture industry to the UK economy – spanning commercial growers, garden centres, manufacturers and domestic landscapers. The total horticulture sector, including horticulture tourism and commercial landscaping, is worth £24bn and supports over 550,000 jobs directly and indirectly. It is a sector which is an engine of growth in local communities and nationally across the UK. With the biosecurity and climate change ambitions to the fore, our industry has the potential to grow even more to create prosperity and socio-economic benefit.

Commenting on his video Bruce says, “It’s longer than originally intended, but I wanted to get it out as soon as possible –  it tells anyone willing to listen the plight of growers and nurseries like ourselves that will be soon throwing millions of plants away due to cancelled orders and we have outlaid all the investment already. We’re trying to be positive going forward without being naïve to the magnitude of the unknown situation in front of us.”

Kernock Park Plants is based in Cornwall, UK. The company is an independent wholesale producer of high-quality, young ornamental plants. With 4 hectares of cover (predominantly glass), over 11 million plants are produced in various formats and specifications to cater for a variety of customer requirements and situations for delivery throughout the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.

Watch the video here:

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