The Annual General Meeting of the Horticultural Trades Association, which took place virtually on Thursday, heard how the horticulture industry has continued to adjust and adapt to the long-term impact of the pandemic and the effect of Brexit.
The sweeping changes to how people live, work and shop and the ways in which the sector has met the challenges this brought have seen the record levels of interest in gardening generated during lockdown show no signs of wavering in the last 12 months.
Demand for plants, gardening products and landscaping remains high, and even as challenges with the cost and complexity of importing and exporting, haulage and supply and skilled labour have continued to cause problems, the industry has delivered.
As outlined in its Annual Review, the HTA has had many accomplishments throughout the year, which saw the association driving policy action on key issues for horticulture, improving communication and engagement and delivering more for our members.
Key achievements for the industry included:
- Garden centres in England defined as ‘essential’ during lockdown ensuring £250m sales safeguarded the industry
- Garden centres in devolved nations enabled to open weeks before other retailers thanks to HTA lobbying
- £4m in savings achieved for the industry as inspection fees deferred as a result of Brexit lobbying • Bringing the horticultural supply chain together to commit to removing peat
- Online training enabled double the number of members to access learning in the first six months of the year
Chairman of the HTA, James Barnes, said: “The HTA has continued to make excellent progress in our efforts to raise the profile of horticulture and the opportunities it presents as a sector poised to deliver green growth. As governments begin the task of building back economies impacted by the global pandemic, its essential they recognise that our industry has a vital role to play and commit to giving the necessary support to enable horticulture to grow and succeed.”
With the news that Brett Avery, HTA Vice-President, was unable to put himself forward for the President-role at this year’s AGM, current HTA President, Boyd Douglas-Davies has kindly agreed to continue in the role while the appointment of a successor is concluded.
Commenting on this, he said: “The theme of my Presidency has been “unpredictable”, and this continues with the news that I will stay in post as HTA President while successors are confirmed for both my role and that of Vice-President. I’m pleased to be able to support the HTA membership in this way and to continue to play a part in the important work the organisation does to champion the industry with those who need to hear what we have to offer. ”
The AGM also saw the following appointments ratified at the AGM:
- Neil Grant and Geoff Caesar as Directors of the Board.
- The re-appointment of Matthew Bent and Brian Fraser as Directors of the Board
The President supplied a report on activity by the HTA Benevolent Fund during the year and encouraged all to help raise awareness of this valuable and underused resource which is available to HTA members and their staff.
The minutes of the AGM will be available to members on the HTA website in due course.