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Early Opening Of Garden Centres Saved The Industry

Garden centre plant bush tree.jpg

Addressing the HTA’s virtual AGM, chairman James Barnes said the early opening of garden centres after lockdown had saved the industry.  He was impressed with its resilience and agility in reacting to the crisis.

Growers are the backbone of UK horticulture

With coronavirus, plant health and Brexit, horticulture has some real battles over the next few weeks and months and needs member support.

The chairman said the UK grower community is the backbone of the industry and so the HTA has started a campaign to double the grower membership.

The HTA has also been developing closer links with other organisations within the industry including the NFU, GMA, RHS and BALI.

James Barnes said, "We believe plant health will remain a dominant issue for our industry. In many ways it is something that rightly unites us all whether grower, retailer or landscaper.”

The government now realises its 25 year environmental plan cannot be met without engaging the horticultural industry.

Data is key to lobbying success

Successful lobbying means HTA now has Government’s ear and they will be developing a growth strategy together.  Part of this will be a new sustainability plan for the whole industry.

James Barnes said the HTA had earned its new credibility through having good data. He thanked members for their contributions and warned them to expect even more requests for information and that the HTA would be developing its ability to monitor data.

HTA finances

HTA finances have been kept on track, by careful control of overheads as income falls.  The loss of income from gift vouchers and the 1/3 rebate on membership fees have been offset by the Furlough scheme and not replacing people who have left.

This means that the HTA has adequate funds to continue its activities at the current levels for the next 12 months.

Board additions confirmed

Previously announced board changes were confirmed at the AGM. 

Farplants’ Brett Avery has become vice president and will succeed Boyd Douglas-Davis as president in 12 months.

An example of the closer networking with its sister organisations is the appointment of GIMA’s Vicki Nutall to the HTA board to strengthen the links with manufacturers.

Ken White, MD of Frosts Landscapes and Jane Lawler, with her marketing and manufacturing experience have also joined the board.

Source : Reproduced with permission from George Bullivant at Gardenforum

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18 September 2020

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