Arable and horticulture update

Commodity watch by senior policy officer Patricia Erwin

UFU host Water Catchment Partnership meeting

Recently, members of the Water Catchment Partnership (WCP) met to reflect on past activities, successes and future direction for the WCP.

The WCP have agreed a new ‘terms of reference’ and are actively now progressing reaching out to other key influencers promoting best practice. The WCP members aim is to proactively work together and improve water quality, with a particular focus in drinking water catchment areas.

The WCP members strive to deliver one message incorporating the ethos from all organisations to promote and raise awareness of best practice and improve water quality.

The partnership approach has proven that together, all have a key and valued role to play and that together each organisation’s input is part of an overall improvement solution.

Collectively the members are now progressing plans to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the WCP in 2023.

Arable and horticulture

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) vegetable committee have recently held their annual general meeting (AGM) and have appointed Trevor Gabbie as their new chair, and Roy Lyttle as vice chair. Much praise and recognition was paid to outgoing chair Adrian McGowan, for giving his time and for having the vision to help raise the profile and value of horticulture.

UFU potato committee chair David McElrea and UFU deputy president John McLenaghan, met with seed potato growers regarding concerns within the industry. The UFU are awaiting clarity on inspectorate detail and confirmation of a meeting with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) officials.

UFU seeds and cereals chair Mark McCollum and vice chair Chris Gill in partnership with the Ulster Arable Society and DAERA/CAFRE, are progressing speakers and topic areas for the 2023 arable conference.

New date: Tuesday 31 January 2023 at CAFRE Greenmount, Antrim. Speaker details will follow.

UFU/Northern Ireland Fruit Growers Association subgroup chair David Johnston, is currently monitoring harvest and the supply chain that operates within the industry.

Across all UFU arable and horticulture committees, the chairs and vice chairs have participated in discussions with DEFRA and DAERA regarding access to and availability longer term for plant protection products. Across the regions including Northern Ireland, all await DEFRA’s announcement on the detail of a new National Action Plan (NAP). Other key areas discussed include commodity prices, input costs, producers’ incomes, retailer activity, industry developments, quality assurance and details for future support.

UFU and Water Catchment Partnership met recently in Belfast.