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MP’s support for horticulture
11:40am Friday 4th May 2012 in News
LEDBURY’S MP Bill Wiggin helped represent Herefordshire at a Westminster event celebrating and supporting horticulture in the West Midlands.
Mr Wiggin was joined by local producers including Pixley Berries and Much Marclebased Westons Cider at the event, where a report entitled ‘Getting to the Heart of Horticulture’, produced by The European Food & Farming Partnership (EFFP), was discussed.
The DEFRA-funded study concluded that, while horticulture uses just three per cent of the West Midlands’ agricultural land, it contributes more than 21 per cent of the value of the region’s agricultural output. It also provides employment for more than 6,000 full time workers and 7,000 part time equivalents, with many more jobs generated further up the food chain.
Mr Wiggin said Herefordshire made a significant contribution to those figures.
“I am so proud of Herefordshire’s contribution to West Midland horticulture and agriculture,” he said. “These producers are champions. We are an important, significant and a dominant force in the horticultural industry.”
Mr Wiggin believes the new report will help growers, particularly by highlighting some of the biggest threats to the industry.
“Rising input costs, excessive red-tape and diminishing profit margins are always a risk to local producers,” he said.
“By getting the facts straight we are much better positioned take things forward and keep British growers in business.”