05 December 2022
FPC Chief Executive says UK Government should not take fresh produce sectors for granted.
NIGEL Jenney, the Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) has voiced his concerns regarding the safeguarding of the UK’s fresh produce sectors.
The integration of both the domestic and international fresh produce and horticultural sectors are fundamental to feeding the nation, he said in a recent statement, going on to add that neither should be taken for granted by the UK Government, whose key responsibility should be to ensure safe, affordable food for hard-pressed consumers, whilst ensuring all elements of the supply chain receive fair reward for their dedication.
Ultimately the produce sector is the ingredient powerhouse of the whole of UK food manufacturing industry, Nigel said.
“The cumulative impact of inadequate labour provision puts all elements of our food supply at risk, so we must address our labour and immigration policies, without which all aspects of the industry, from farm to retail, will simply fail. It’s essential that our dedicated hard-pressed sectors are fairly rewarded, especially taking into consideration the huge and complex external impacts of unprecedented cost pressures."
Whilst the industry is keen to support a high wage high skill economy, there will undoubtedly be a transition period, during which time we must ensure effective food production and distribution, Nigel states.
“The forthcoming UK Government border solutions are, at best, totally out of date and are unable support modern supply chains. The adopted approach compounds the challenges faced by the fresh produce sector. A fundamental and rapid rethink of the UK Border policy is imperative otherwise huge further food inflation will occur,” he added.
FPC FUTURE and FPC CAREERS are two events organised by the consortium to support the future of the industry and secure the nation’s food supply. They have been developed to ‘open the eyes of the industry’ and showcase the possibilities available.
“Future and Careers is an event which combines both the need for innovation and bright young minds to meet the needs of the agri-food and horticulture industry as we navigate such uncertainty,” said Nigel. “Visitors will be able see how new technologies can help them become more efficient, increase productivity and help their workforce.”
FPC Careers, is a free-to-attend event showcasing the wide and varied career paths on offer in the fresh produce industry. Roles in the industry range from apprenticeship programmes, progressive graduate schemes, as well as full and part-time roles.
“Whilst competition is fierce for the best candidates, there are many new and emerging technologies and disciplines required of employees that go well beyond the traditional agricultural and horticultural qualifications usually expected on entry to the sector," Nigel said.