The fruit and vegetable industry has been struggling since the global financial crisis, with the price of produce in the UK falling by about 30% in just the past year.
However, there are many reasons for why the UK’s fruit and veg sector is struggling, with a growing number of companies facing closures.
One of the biggest is a shortage of land for growing and harvesting.
In May, the Government announced a £500m fund to help new entrants to the sector, but many of these new entrants have not been able to secure enough land.
The Government has also set a target of producing 100,000 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables per week by 2020, and it has promised to invest an additional £20m into the sector in the coming years.
However in a bid to boost the sector’s sustainability, the UK Government has announced a programme of incentives for companies who will grow their own vegetables.
The UK has been working closely with the European Commission to make this happen, but with little to show for it, the project has faced serious setbacks.
Last month, the government announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the EU to create a common EU strategy for the growing and processing of fruits and vegetables.
The MoU is aimed at promoting sustainable farming and boosting agricultural output by boosting research, and promoting technology development.
In addition to this, the MoU also aims to support small and medium-sized farmers, farmers who produce their own fruit and produce it in a self-sufficient manner, as well as encourage other small producers to get involved in the industry.
But the Government has been slow to deliver on its promises.
While the MoUs have been announced and signed, the sector has yet to be officially funded by the government.
This has left many small growers with no choice but to sell their produce to supermarkets or to other supermarkets, while large, well-known growers have not had the opportunity to grow their produce on their own.
This lack of support is putting a strain on the growing number to whom the government is offering financial help, and this is likely to continue to be the case as the UK faces a shortage.
“It’s not just the price, it’s also the quality of the produce, and the quality that is in the fruit,” says Joanna Taylor, the director of the UK Growers Association.
“There are a number of things that are holding back the UK from developing into the world leader in the growing of fresh produce.
It’s not a case of a lack of supply, it is that there’s a lack in quality.”
The UK Government’s responseTo date, the British Government has yet in any way committed to supporting or supporting small growers in the farming sector.
This has not been the case with the UK, where the industry is run by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), which is in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
“We’ve made it clear that we would support farmers in the sector.
The issue here is that we’re in a coalition, so the Government is not in a position to make any decisions about the farmers or the industry,” said Joanna Smith, the head of the NFU.
In an email to Al Jazeera, a spokesperson for the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said that the UK is “fully committed to the growing, sustainable and high-quality food sector” and that the government will “continue to invest in the burgeoning sector”.
“The UK government is working to provide the support that small producers need to grow, and our farmers are doing a great job at it.
This Government will continue to provide financial support to those who work hard to create their own farming communities,” said the spokesperson.
In terms of the impact of the crisis, the number of farmers has decreased in the past few years.
“There are now about 20,000 small farmers and about 3,000 large farmers,” says Sarah Taylor, from the UK Farm Animal Welfare Federation.
In some parts of the country, this means that a lot of the growing is happening at the margins, and these farms are growing in very limited areas.
“The UK is an outlier,” says Taylor.
“We’re not the norm.”
In order to help farmers in their struggle, the Department for Agriculture has created a special £1,000 support package to help small growers, which is designed to help them buy seeds, fertiliser, equipment, pesticides, seeds and seedlings.
The government has also made a commitment to increase the number and scope of small farmer training courses, with an aim to train over 10,000 people by the end of 2020.
While it may be difficult to see a bright future for the British fruit and food sector in future, this is a small but welcome step forward, says Taylor, who added that the Government should be focusing on the issue of supply and demand, rather than solely on the price.