Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
University of Warwick

Researchers try boosting UK fruit and veg production in wake of new government report

The UK has a strong tradition in agriculture, including in growing fruits and vegetables. This sector is essential for the UK's economy, contributing £4.3 billion in 2022 and producing over 3 million tonnes of produce each year. However, the UK only produces 17% of the fruit and 55% of the vegetables it consumes, so there's a big push to increase domestic production and improve food security. Indeed, nationally, we need to increase our consumption of fruit and vegetables even more as, collectively, we're not meeting the minimum recommendation of 5-a-day.

Researchers at the University's internationally recognised Warwick Crop Centre are reflecting on a new government report, 'A blueprint to grow the UK fruit and vegetable sector', which details plans to support the fresh fruit and vegetable sector.

Research scientist Alex Kelly: "We strongly welcome the Government's new commitment to boost the domestic production of fruit and vegetables. In our 2023 strategy paper titled "Growing British", we outlined the economic, environmental, and nutritional benefits that could be realised in a vibrant, expanding fresh produce sector. By increasing our self-sufficiency in this vitally important sector, the UK is taking steps to safeguard our supply of fresh food and nutrition as more countries struggle with climate extremes."

Professor Richard Napier, who is Deputy Head of the School of Life Sciences, said: "The government's new UK Food Security Index shows that home production ratios for vegetables and fruit hold the two bottom rankings. The blueprint recognises that the fresh produce sector has potential to grow, and the measures it announces to encourage growth are very good news.

"Part of the package of measures announced was a strong endorsement for growing skills and innovation. Just as in the first green revolution which gave us the first high yielding varieties of cereal crops, much of the improvement in fruit and vegetable crop performance will come from better varieties, especially new lines with 'inbuilt resilience' to the stresses of pests, diseases and climate change. This is something we are particularly addressing at the University of Warwick.

Professor Rosemary Collier, University of Warwick, added: "A priority, which was not specifically mentioned in the blueprint, is support for the transition from the use of conventional pesticides to integrated pest management (IPM), which reduces the environmental pressure from agriculture. A tailored Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) payment scheme, specifically designed for the fresh produce sector, could help growers adapt, by de-risking the reduction of conventional pesticides".

For more information:
University of Warwick
Coventry - CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)24 7652 3523

Publication date: