Living in Wales we are spoilt with our green open spaces and I’m pleased that the Welsh Government is working through a number of projects to support a sustainable horticulture industry that benefits the people and environment. The Welsh Horticulture Cluster has identified ways in which the horticulture supply-chain can work together to meet the challenges that the industry is constantly facing. It is so important that there are opportunities for farmers to diversify and that farmers who wish to diversify are aware of the support available and literally make the most of it. It’s vital that existing growers are able to develop their businesses further and provide a wider variety of fruit and vegetables. If this can be achieved it will reduce our reliance on imports, which makes Wales greener, but also builds solid businesses in the horticultural sector. There is now such an increasing demand for local food and that of course includes fruit and vegetables, so I’m encouraged to see Wales backing such an exciting challenge for this industry.
Tyfu Cymru is an exciting programme, led by Lantra Wales, offering targeted, bespoke fully funded support to generate growth in the horticulture industry.
Through training and development Tyfu Cymru aims to develop the sector as well as to promote Welsh horticulture businesses. The project offers 100% funding to Welsh businesses through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
With a range of strategic, leadership, skills development, training and support, Tyfu Cymru’s services are tailored to the industry’s requirements, and are drawn on evidence gained from Welsh growers, expert horizon scanning and an analysis of business needs.
A survey of 120 grower businesses in Wales undertaken by Tyfu Cymru found Brexit as a key concern for the Welsh horticulture industry, however many growers identified that Brexit may offer expanding market opportunities for horticultural products. Potential opportunities include developing existing and new crops, and potential advancements in extending the growing season.
So, with Brexit cited by many growers as an opportunity to grow, national campaigns promoting vegetable consumption and British grown plants and flowers making headlines and with consumer trends showing an uplift in the consumer interest in local produce, food miles and the environmental impact of their shopping choices, it certainly feels like a perfect time to embrace growth opportunities in the Welsh horticulture sector.
But this is not about growth at any cost. Access to natural and finite resources, such as land, energy and water, are vital to growing edible and ornamental produce and the careful management of these natural resources is needed to open-up opportunities to expand horticulture in Wales.
There are also obstacles to overcome – with many growers operating on a small scale, having the skillsets required to grow commercially, adapting growing methods, increasing production and having the ability to understand, add value and market products according to consumer demands can be a real challenge.
Tyfu Cymru aims to work with growers and producers across Wales to help them adapt for the future and position themselves to capitalise on development and these growth opportunities.
Support is tailored to each business and managed through Tyfu Cymru. Training is available in areas such as technical advice through to business support and available across the horticulture sector in Wales, including ornamentals and edibles.
Through supporting the innovative and sustainable development of the horticulture industry in Wales, Tyfu Cymru envisages businesses that are equipped with the knowledge and practical skills for green growth, as well as ensuring the industry adopts practices that support natural resource and waste management, biodiversity, public health and the economic regeneration of rural Wales.
It certainly is an exciting time to play a part in the horticulture industry in Wales…
For more information on Tyfu Cymru please visit: tyfucymru.co.uk
Support for Horticultural business
Free bespoke support for horticultural businesses across Wales? Sounds too good to be true? Then think again. Horticulture Wales is a Pan Wales project, providing support, advice and guidance to help growers and producers reduce waste, improve shelf life, sustainability, and profit.
Funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the project undertakes research, signposts businesses to funding, offers free promotion, and enables collaboration – identifying and developing horticultural clusters of businesses, which can benefit one another. What does that actually mean though?
Three businesses supported by Horticulture Wales explain how the project has helped them:
Bryn Cocyn has been in my family for three generations. Farming organically since 1978, our aim is to grow in a way that adds as little as we can to climate change, whilst contributing good food to our economy.
Farmers’ markets have been the catalyst to change our farming towards the more balanced, mixed system we’ve always wanted. We have vegetables, soft fruit, apples, apple juice, beef and lamb on our market stalls and sell apple juice in local shops. Everything we sell, is grown on the farm.
Our local Horticulture Wales team introduced themselves to us at a local food fair and subsequently have visited us at the farm a number of times.
They were immediately sensitive to the direction in which we wanted to develop our family business. We were given useful links to other similar projects, help in developing new outlets for our apple juice and introducing us to other regional food networks. They’ve also promoted our business on their social media channels. It’s good just to be able to talk over our ideas with the team and use all their experience and resources. We’ve definitely benefited from their support and their belief and enthusiasm for our products.
We are celebrating a revival in Welsh grown flowers following a surge of interest in local flowers for weddings and events.
Working with Horticulture Wales last year, we promoted our flowers at the Pembrokeshire County Show and came away with the accolade of Best Small Trade Stand, as people fell in love with the wild styling and heady scents of real flowers.
British Flowers have continued to grow in popularity and year on year we’re seeing more people seeking out natural and bee-friendly, garden-style flowers. Many requests are from people who just want to remember the flowers they grew up with. To have seasonal flowers that are gorgeously delicate and beautifully scented is so important.
We supplied flowers and floristry at more than 40 weddings in Pembrokeshire last year as well as gift bouquets, markets, fairs and other events. With more than 20 beehives on the farm, we are also expanding our wildflower meadows to help more bees and butterflies thrive.
My business grew out of a passion for growing herbs and vegetables and cooking with the fruits of our labour. The business is built around the idea of having a year-round income in an industry where the majority of sales take place during the spring and summer months. Roughly split into three sales periods, we supply seed for late winter and early spring, plants from spring into autumn and then Grow Your Own Meal boxes and horticultural gifts from autumn into Christmas.
Horticulture Wales first got in touch with us late last year and have been fantastic in offering support, offering new ideas and putting us in touch with potential new clients – being a young business this help is invaluable.
For more details visit: horticulturewales.co.uk or email: email@example.com