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It is now clear that the British people have made the choice to leave the European Union. The countr...


HortiTrends NEWS & WEEKLY COMMENT - 20th October

Congratulations to all of the ALCI 2013 Landscape Award Winners. There was a large turnout for the event which could be partly put down to the new lunch-time cost effective format, along with the feeling that the sector is seeing a small lift in business. Speaking with members of the association at the event, the consensus was, that they are seeing improvements in their business. That said, tendering for existing or new contracts is still ultra competitive. Peter O' Toole, the current President of the Association spoke about the tough times that members had gone through and highlighted the importance of a strong representative association as he appealed to Minister Hayes, that the landscape sector be included in the government budget initiative to boost construction. Speaking of which you can see everything that the horticulture sector got or did or did not get, in the Ministers budget speech here. Horticulture in the Dail - Tom Hayes Speaks About 2014 Allocation for Sector.

We attended what could be described as a vibrant Mushroom Conference and trade-show on Thursday. Its small in terms of the number of growers, as the industry had consolidated, but Ireland North/South is a key player and one of the market leader's in Europe. Other upcoming countries like Poland, look to the sector here to see what new innovations are occurring as they plan to increase their share of our biggest market, the UK. One problem the Irish sector faces is, how to present themselves, as more British Isles than Ireland, for the purpose of marketing to the 'flag loyal' UK consumers. The event was a 'Who's Who' of the mushroom industry in the UK and Ireland. What were they talking about? Everything from the need for more collaboration in research, such as extending the shelf life of mushrooms to some very nasty problem pests. Check out the Mushroom Conference Proceedings 2013 to find out more. The event concluded with practical visits to production farms on the Friday. We were exhibiting and launched www.FreshProduceNews.ie our new dedicated site for the edible horticulture sector in Ireland North and South.

Note: The one thing the two above successful events had in common was strong north and south co-operation.

What is noticeable at the Mushroom Conference and in the edible sector iin general, when compared to ornamental horticulture, was the serious dedicated 'knowledge' support resources from the government development bodies. Is it still the case that Ornamental Production Horticulture has no dedicated Teagasc support staff member? If that has changed recently, then great but if it hasn't, the sector isn't shouting loud enough for its share of agency supports.

Staying with Teagasc, there was some tabloid articles recently about the big spend on new iphones for over 300 staff. It was presented as possibley a waste of money. I am of the opposite opinion, in that this type of technology in the hands of the right field staff will improve productivity and is also in keeping with Teagasc knowledge transfer objectives, which to date has been very successful.

We were busy at the Irish Florist Guild Show Open Weekend today. The workshops with 5 times Chelsea Gold medal winner Joe Massie among others, were well attended along with a trade show of Ireland's top suppliers in the florist sector displaying their wares. The highlight of the event was of course Ireland's Top Floral Designers to Fight it Out for the Title of IFG 'Florist of the Year'. The sought after title of 'IFG Florit of the Year2013' went to Karen Sherwin of George Preston florists in Newry. The latest news from the event is that Jenny Murphy has been invited to participate at the Singapore Garden Festival in 2014.

What the three events above all have in common, is that they all chose HortiTrends as their media partner. Got something important to tell the wider horticulture sector? Tell it first to HortiTrends.