UK growers calculate that import and export is costing them over £200,000 per year more

SALTASH, UK: Southeast Cornwall MP, Sheryll Murray, has seen first-hand how horticulture can play a part in driving ‘green growth’ and supporting climate targets during a visit to a Saltash plant business on Thursday 5 August. She also learnt more about the urgent need the excessive red tape and bureaucracy on imports and exports for horticulture.

Kernock Park Plants, an independent Cornish plant producer, who have been in businesses for over 40 years, produce over 13 million plants a year for sale in the UK, Ireland and Europe and operate from their seven-hectare site at Pillaton near Saltash. It is part of a strong Cornish horticultural industry which grows a diverse range of plants and trees; with Cornwall being the UK’s leading grower of crops such as daffodils.

Bruce Harnett, managing director Kernock Park Plants, said: “We were delighted to have Sheryll visit our business and to show her the work that goes into producing plants. Gardening has never been more popular and there is a real opportunity to further grow our business, but we need Government to reduce the excessive red tape and bureaucracy on imports and exports for horticulture. Currently the process is significantly hampered by paperwork and costs that could be easily reduced by Government to allow us to grow our business.”

“On small to medium sized import, costs have increased by nearly 400 per cent compared to 2020 with all the certificates, agent costs and inspection costs on both sides. We calculate that import and export is costing us over £200,000 per year more, without considering lost business due to increased export costs and all the additional time dealing with the complex administration to receive and sell plants outside of the UK.”

“As far as workforce, we’re working hard to cover help ensure that our needs are covered going forward, but it’s demanding even more planning and forecasting as to our requirements in a typically unpredictable market. We need recognition and a policy change from government that better reflects our needs for seasonal staff by incorporation of ornamental plants into the seasonal agricultural workers scheme allocation.”

Sheryll Murray MP said: “I was very impressed by their large operation producing such beautiful plants.  I would like to thank them for the informative visit.  This first hand detail is particularly useful in my role on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.”

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