05-03-2014 04:51 AM | Arable, Cereal, Crops, News, Supermarkets

Diversification can help farmers increase income



Three free events are being staged next month to highlight how diversifying into horticulture can help farmers increase their income and meet a rising demand for Welsh-grown fruit and veg.

Supply chain efficiency project Horticulture Wales is teaming up with Farming Connect to host the three informal sessions: Tuesday 11 March at Lampter Rugby Club; Wednesday 12 March at Tafarn y Rhos in Anglesey; and Thursday 13 March at the Three Salmons Hotel in Usk, Monmouthshire. Each meeting will run from 7.00pm until 9.30pm, with light refreshments provided.

The events will outline the commercial opportunities on offer for farmers who branch out into horticulture by growing fruit or vegetables on a proportion of their land, as well as the support and funding available to help them make the move.

“Due to increased pressure on agricultural incomes, farmers are becoming keener than ever to explore diversification opportunities to help spread their business risk or provide an alternative income for future generations,” Katina Davies, Market Analyst for Horticulture Wales, commented.

“With issues such as food security and ‘buy local’ becoming increasingly important to consumers, the demand for quality Welsh-grown fruit and veg currently outstrips supply, so growing fresh produce is a viable option for farmers, and these events will aim to show them how it can be done.”

Each of the three evening events will include a brief overview of the horticulture sector and current market possibilities, while local businesses who buy significant volumes of Welsh produce will be on hand to describe the rising consumer demand for ‘locally grown’.

Farmers that have already taken the step into fruit and veg growing will also share their experiences and provide practical advice for farmers interested in following in their footsteps, while information on support and funding will be available from Farming Connect.

“Many farmers already have the necessary land, skills, and equipment required to diversify into horticultural growing, so we’d urge any interested in the possibilities to attend these upcoming sessions and see what the potential opportunities could be,” Katina Davies added.

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