Collaboration for Plant Health: Industry Leaders and Experts Unite at Exclusive Event

by Anna

Key figures from the horticulture industry, including Nicola Spence, Chief Plant Health Officer at Defra, Dr. Andrew Swift, CEO of Fera Science Ltd, and Fran Barnes, CEO of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), recently convened with experts from Defra, Fera, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in an interactive event exclusively for HTA grower members.

Fran Barnes, CEO of HTA, emphasized the event’s significance, stating, “The event highlighted the benefits of collaboration on the shared challenges and opportunities in productivity, biosecurity, policy development, and research and demonstrates how industry, government, and science can work together effectively. By building mutual knowledge and understanding of the Plant Inspection process, and Defra, APHA, Fera, and the HTA working together on this to ensure the process and arrangements will ultimately safeguard and benefit growers and the UK’s capacity to produce plants and trees.”

Nicola Spence, UK Chief Plant Health Officer, expressed her delight at the strong grower participation, stating, “I was delighted to see so many growers join us for a behind-the-scenes look at how government, scientists, and the trade all work together to protect plant health. The event was a great opportunity for us all to share and discuss our collective knowledge and ideas, and it was good to see so much enthusiasm among those who were able to attend.”

Dr. Andrew Swift, Fera CEO, stressed the importance of increasing awareness throughout the supply chain to sustain a thriving and secure horticulture industry in the UK. He commented, “It is in everyone’s interest for the UK to sustain a thriving and prosperous horticulture industry, but also one which is safe and biosecure. Reducing risk starts with increasing awareness along all of the supply chain. This is why days like today are so important, and it has been really encouraging to hear so many HTA member’s feedback on how informative and helpful this event has been. Fera is committed to supporting the UK Horticulture Industry, and our scientists love hosting such interactive meetings. We are grateful to all of those members for taking the time out to join us and especially to our friends at the HTA and Defra (PHSI) with whom it has been a joy to organise today’s proceedings.”

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