On Tuesday 10th January The English Apple Man attended a British Apples and Pears Limited meeting held at The Kent County Showground.
The meeting was very well attended with circa 70 present and a further 40 attending via ZOOM.
The attendance reflected the crisis facing our apple and pear industry and emotions were festering!
BAPL Chair Ali Capper conducted the meeting with prominent members of the BAPL Board present.
1. Future R&D overview
2. R&D Q&A
4.Strategic review Q&A
The agenda sought to explain and discuss the change in the BAPL structure now the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board no longer supports Apple and Pear R&D.
In the AHDB ballot tree fruit, soft fruit and protected edible growers voted to retain their R&D levy.
The Tree Fruit panel was the most effective panel with 85% of the industry represented in its members and co-opted members
The panel was supported by a Research Manager, Knowledge Exchange team and the EAMU/Emergency Authorisations team at AHDB
Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd:
The demise of AHDB Horticulture leaves a gap for the industry which the Board of BAPL, like the other crop associations, feel should be filled.
This is a very important R&D issue which is no longer funded by AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) which was funded by a mandatory levy and government funding. Due to the recent review which the horticultural sector including apple & pear growers voted not to continue support for the AHDB and a mandatory levy, BAPL with other organisations have set up The Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd: a not-for-profit organization designed to deliver the EAMU's and Emergency Approvals for chemical and biological pest, disease and weed controls - all major Horticulture crop associations have signed up to HCP Ltd
BAPL Research & Development - Committee
BAPL Research and Development Committee: a separate committee to continue to drive the industry priorities for apple and pear R&D
There will be two separate costs, plus associated BAPL running costs raised in one voluntary levy
Ali Capper explained a strategic review was necessary to agree the new structure incorporates the R&D changes.
During the strategic review presentation, some attendees voiced strongly their concern that BAPL is not doing enough to support apple & pear growers in the current financial crisis: in particular challenging the Supermarkets strongly and publicly over the unsustainable prices growers are receiving
BAPL started as 'English Apples and Pears' becoming 'British Apples and Pears' in 2018
British Apples & Pears is a limited registered company formed in 1990 to organise and develop the promotion of the British apple and pear industry. They work year-round to promote delicious British high-quality apples and pears and we are led by a committed board of grower directors.
The organisation acts as a trade association, to promote and safeguard the interests of its British grower members and to promote British grown apples and pears. Membership is restricted to British growers of apples and pears and each member's shareholding is determined by their hectarage of apples and pears.
It is funded by a voluntary levy - every time a class one British apple or pear is purchased the growers donate a small sum to the promotional fund. It represents the British industry, working hard on their behalf to grow their market share, raise awareness and engage with consumers and retailers with the aim of supplying 60% of all the apples and pears consumed in the UK by 2030
The English Apple Man Comments
Reflecting on the BAPL meeting this week, The English Apple Man 'recognises' the crisis facing our apple and pear growers and many other industries. Indeed the crisis has been discussed at length in several English Apple Man Journals last year. We are all in the grip of a 'perfect storm' - but much of horticulture as well as apple & pear growers is suffering equally.
However the downward pressure on apple and pear growers financial returns over the last decade has reduced our industry to the point when many are questioning whether to 'pack it in'
Click on: Journal 10 June
Click on: Journal 7 October
Click on: Journal 25 November
I find it difficult to lay blame on the BAPL Board which has done it's best with limited financial input. The board is made up of growers who put a great deal of time and energy into the creation of the BAPL structure all for no remuneration, only the Chair is rewarded for the time and expertise she brings to the BAPL activities.
Clearly many feel TV promotion should go hand in hand with a more aggressive stance against the Supermarkets dominant position. I do not see how without funding way beyond the apple and pear industry's purse TV promotion is even worth talking about!
I do think however that this is one of those 'moments in time' when the whole industry MUST come together and agree a common goal!
Much more on the subject will no doubt be forthcoming in the weeks/months ahead!
That is all for this week
The English Apple Man