15 May 2023
Are you an established horticulturalist, or one of Wales’ many small-scale niche commercial growers? Or maybe you are a land-owner looking for a sustainable new diversification opportunity? Farming Connect is this year reaching out to not only farmers but to all established commercial horticultural growers and those considering entering this rapidly expanding sector.
The Director of Lantra Wales, Kevin Thomas, explains that the horticulture programme - ‘Growing for growth’ - is one of Farming Connect’s newest services. Launched last month as an important additional service within the new Farming Connect programme, which is funded by the Welsh Government, all support, guidance and training services will continue to be delivered by Menter a Busnes and Lantra Wales.
“Commercial horticulture is one of the UK’s fastest growing niche industries with experts already forecasting as much as a 25% increase in new business over the next few years.
“Many shoppers who got into a new routine of ‘buying local’ during the pandemic have carried on supporting farm shops and other local producers and this shift in buying patterns, together with today’s environmentally-conscious consumers determined to seek out ‘grown’ rather than ‘flown’ produce imported from other countries, has created a significant increase in demand.”
Farming Connect’s ‘Growing for growth’ programme will provide support for a huge range of growers and producers offering fruits, fruit trees including heritage types, flowers, vegetables, salad produce, herbs and spices, non-edibles, ornamentals, willow, pumpkins and grapevines, through to Christmas trees and many more exciting options.
“Researching what to grow, planting, nurturing, pruning, feeding and grafting are all part and parcel of what it takes to run a successful horticulture enterprise in Wales and these are all areas you can learn about with our support,” said Mr. Thomas.
The Farming Connect team will be on hand to promote all elements of the service, including the training and e-learning provision, all of which are either subsidised by up to 80% or fully funded. This will be relevant to all those wanting to strengthen either practical or technical skills, or to improve their knowledge of business, financial and marketing topics including social media.
For further information on Farming Connect and its comprehensive range of support, guidance and training services or to check eligibility criteria, click here or contact your local Farming Connect development officer.