Member organizations of the Farming and Rural Issues Group for the South East (FRIGSE) have backed a report from the Sustainable Growing Media Task Force which was set up by Defra and which included representatives from the HTA and the NFU.
The report provides a pragmatic and balanced summary of the environmental, social and economic factors in the complicated debate on the sustainability of growing media.
Over the last 12 months the Task Force has identified several project streams to help deliver a competitive UK horticultural industry that is based on a responsibly sourced and resilient supply of growing media.
Fundamentally, the Task Force has broadened its original focus on the single issue of peat, to include an assessment of the environmental, social and economic credentials of the whole range of growing media materials. This will allow the assessment of all growing media, without focusing just on peat, to ensure the long term outcome is sustainable for the industry as well as the environment.
The report provides a roadmap of actions that will help drive change for both the amateur and professional markets over the next decade. The Task Force believes these can be implemented successfully provided all stakeholders work in partnership. Growers, retailers, manufacturers, government and research providers all have a role to play in taking this work forward.
The Task Force concluded that economic sustainability needs to underpin any viable solutions. In a competitive European marketplace, it is imperative that the best environmental solutions are delivered hand-in-hand with a commercially viable UK supply chain. This approach would safeguard the UK’s commercial interests while enabling Defra to lead the debate on sustainability of growing media in the EU market.