HC Deb 25 June 1997 vol 296 c542W
Mr. Martyn Jones

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to promote horticulture; and if he will make a statement. [4877]

Mr. Rooker

The Government is determined to see a flourishing horticulture industry in the United Kingdom. We will therefore be spending some £12.7 million in 1997–98 under our research programme, directed at improving the competitiveness and market responsiveness of the sector. Priority areas are those showing the greatest potential for growth and added value, especially where there is a clear trade gap opportunity such as extending our own growing seasons.

The financial assistance available to recognised producer groups under the reformed regime for fresh fruit and vegetables will also enable growers in the sector to improve their competitive edge. We are seeking to ensure that growers in the UK benefit fully from EU funds available under these new arrangements.