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HRI and Defra to meet over Efford

DEFRA addresses research fear

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The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs is holding a meeting with industry bodies tomorrow (12 September) to calm fears concerning the future of horticultural research, which are intensifying as next month’s closure of the Horticulture Research Institute’s Efford site looms. The Horticultural Development Council hopes to force a commitment from DEFRA, guaranteeing no loss of momentum on existing research programmes or gaps in future research ability. In the HDC’s submission to the HRI Quinquennial Review last year, and in a letter to farming minister Lord Whitty, it highlighted the concerns of levy-paying growers that there was a need to make alternative arrangements for staffing and facilities if Efford closed. The HDC recently completed an exercise to find solutions, presenting its findings to the Horticultural Trades Association, the National Farmers’ Union, growers and other industry bodies. The analysis stated: “If Efford is to close then there will be real gaps in the ability to undertake near-market research and development in terms of facilities and people.

This article was first published on Horticulture Week

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