LEIDEN, the Netherlands: Leading horticultural and government organisations from the UK and the Netherlands met last week to discuss current industry challenges and how the two countries could work more closely to meet them.
Hosted by Naktuinbouw, the Dutch horticultural inspection service centre in Roelofarendsveen, the group shared their current thinking and experiences on plant health, plant reproductive material, crop protection, plant breeders’ rights, research and innovation, careers and growing media.
Senior representatives from government, industry and research institutions from the Netherlands included: Marien Valstar, Mennie Gerritsen, and Susanne Sutterlin, senior policy advisors at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, DG Agro; Saskia Jurna, and Thijs Simons from Plantum (breeders and propagators organisation); Nico Horn NVWA (Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority); Piet Boonekamp, WUR PSG (Wageningen University and Research center); Hein Boon, RHP director (growing media organisation); Jaap van Wenum, Policy Advisor LTO (Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture); Head of Department Varieties, Kees van Ettekoven and director John van Ruiten from Naktuinbouw.
Attendance from the UK included Richard Harris and Andy Mitchell, team leaders at the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Martin Emmett, board member of the HDC (Horticultural Development Company); Bill Parker, Director of Horticulture at the HDC; Raoul Curtis-Machin, Head of Horticulture at the HTA (Horticultural Trades Association); John David, Chief Scientist at the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society); Tim Edwards from the NFU (National Farmers Union); James Bean from the BGA (British Growers Association).
The meeting was organised by Martin Emmett of the Horticultural Development Company and John van Ruiten of Naktuinbouw.
HTA Head of Horticulture, Raoul Curtis-Machin said: “The meeting was a great success. The aim of the meeting was to build relationships and improve communications by comparing the big picture in the industry and to see if there is common ground between us. We found many areas where we could collaborate, for example with the upcoming Plant Reproductive Material and Plant Health legislation from the European Union, it is important to work together to achieve the best solution.”
HDC’s Martin Emmett added: “We must take the opportunity to collaborate on research and EU policy issues whenever we share a common interest – this is especially important in plant health where we need to develop solutions quickly and need the rest of Europe to do the same. This meeting demonstrated the value of bringing together industry, government and research to collectively identify those objectives where we can make more progress working together.”
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.
Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 209 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.
RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join