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£1.64m Horticulture Project to be led by Glyndŵr University Flintshire

02 February 2010

Glyndŵr University has secured funding for a £1.64 million horticulture project through the Supply Chain Efficiency Scheme, part of the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013.

The key aim of the Scheme is to assist farmers, growers and foresters in developing collaborative, supply chain-focussed initiatives by providing the capacity building support that is not available through any other mechanism.

The Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Glyndŵr University, based at Northop, Flintshire, will gather market intelligence and profiles of horticultural production of food and nurseries in Wales as part of the three-year project focused on developing horticultural supply chains in Wales.

It will be partnered by ADAS, Organic Centre Wales and the Centre for Alternative Land Use (CALU) to complete the project.

The project will be led by Dr David Skydmore, Project Director for Horticulture at Glyndŵr University, and Project Manager Helen Eustace, an expert in market intelligence and supply chain analysis.

David said: “It will generate research on how supply chains work which will be hugely useful to the horticultural industry in Wales.

“Currently Wales doesn’t have a central statistical database about growers and production– their size, the types of crop that they’re producing, how their products match demand – and this means it’s very difficult for new producers to decide what crops to grow. Gathering all these data will be the first step for us.

“The next step will be contacting as many growers as we can. Wales has few large growers but lots of smaller growers many of whom are finding it difficult to market their products.

"We are here to help make them more business focused,” added Dr Skydmore.

Support will range from helping growers to develop new products which have the potential to attract buyers’ interest, to helping them to test their products and suggesting ways they can improve their processing techniques.

This will come via consultations and advice from experts within the horticultural industry, rather than through financial support.

Project Manager Helen Eustace commented: “Horticultural supply chains are an area with much potential for growth in Wales so to work on a project which could have such a big impact for growers is really exciting.

"By the end of the three years there should be a wealth of information which horticultural businesses can access to help them form their own business strategies.”

Elin Jones, Minister for Rural Affairs said: “We have long known that in order to have a thriving and sustainable horticulture industry, it is essential that we work together across the supply chain.

"I welcome the launch of this programme, delivered by Glyndŵr University, which looks to develop and disseminate important market intelligence to the wider industry, identify current and future markets and examine ways of building Welsh horticulture capacity."

Any businesses or growers interested in providing information or benefiting from the project are asked to contact Helen Eustace on 01978 293971 or email h.eustace@glyndwr.ac.uk

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