After being hit hard by the living wage which has eroded already thin profit margins, the horticulture industry is now coping with the consequences of Brexit.
Someone familiar with the sector said that growers were 'concerned that Brexit would mean another layer of bureaucracy being placed on top of existing compliance with EU regulations covering plant protection, and that companies would be less likely to get plant protection products authorized in the UK.'
'I can’t see the UK pulling out of [Regulation] 1107 or the Sustainable Use Directive. We would have to comply because of UK exports of cereals and seed potatoes, the press would have a field day (“British farmers to start using bee killing pesticides” etc.) and the retailers would probably insist that their growers comply with EU standards.'
For horticulture, there is already a concern that larger growers will shift their production to EU if they can’t get access to the eastern European labour force. Anything harvested by hand could switch to Poland and other eastern European countries and be sold back to the UK.