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Glasshouse Industry

Volume 563: debated on Thursday 16 May 2013

4. What steps he is taking to support the glasshouse industry; and if he will make a statement. (155337)

DEFRA works with colleagues across Government to support sustainable development and remove regulatory barriers. We work with colleagues in the EU to support fruit and vegetable producers through reform of the common agricultural policy, the general marketing standards and the fruit and vegetable producer organisation scheme. The Government support and encourage innovative approaches to growing through research and development, the agri-tech strategy and the green food project.

Is my hon. Friend aware that my constituency of Harlow—in particular, Roydon and Nazeing—has the highest concentration of cucumber and pepper growers in the United Kingdom? Will he support the excellent Lea Valley Growers Association and suggest how we can help it to expand? Will he also meet me and the association to discuss these matters?

I think every Member of the House is well aware of my hon. Friend’s commitment to his local growing businesses. He is a stalwart supporter of them. We want them to expand, not only for the local jobs that would create, but for our food security. That is why, for example, we have done combined horticultural production and energy research to try to assist companies such as those in his constituency with the energy they use, which is a big outgoing—and why we have an agri-tech strategy, drawing together engineering skills, R and D, and genotyping to try to reduce costs, using the fantastic innovation we have around the country. I am happy to consult him to see what more we can do to help specific growers in his constituency, who do a fantastic job.