In today’s talking points: China plans pork progress; Berries benefit from Brexit; New council to be horticultural hope hothouse.
British fruit-grower moves to China
British farm Haygrove’s has announced plans to shift its raspberry and blueberry growing operations to the Chinese province of Yunnan. With uncertainty surrounding the availability of migrant labour in the face of Brexit, the company has shifted close to 200 seasonal positions to the region, rather than wait for clarification of new immigration policy. Haygrove’s founder, Angus Davison, has pleaded with British Prime Minister Theresa May to take action so that the agribusiness industry can function effectively in the lead up to the UK’s departure from the European Union. Davison said that compared to the British government, that in Yunnan had a greater understanding of blueberry farming, allowing the business to operate confidently in what would be otherwise uncertain times.
China plans to dominate pork market
A 73-hectare farm in rural Xinguangan, capable of housing 10,000 pigs and producing up to 20,000 tons of pork annually, is part of a number of large-scale shift in China towards intensive pork production akin to that in the USA. Already the largest pork producer in the world, experts say that Chinese producers appear to be transition to more intensive farming methods, with the new average farm capable of housing 5000 to 8000 heads. The modernisation of the industry comes as many small-scale and backyard farms shutdown, unable to cater to stricter anti-pollution laws and regulations. Of particular focus in modern farming operations is health and disease control, with new farms modelling techniques used in the US such as quarantining farmers for up to 48 hours to mitigate the risk of spreading infection.
New horticultural council set up to represent diverse farming interests
A new horticulture council has been set up by the National Farmer’s Federation (NFF) in Australia. It will be represented by the Victorian Farmer’s Federation, NSW Farmers, Growcom, the Voice of Horticulture and six commodity groups including Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association, AusVeg, and Apple and Pear Australia. Chief of NFF, Tony Mahar says the new horticulture council ‘will build upon the existing work of the NFF … to advocate for the best interest of all Australia’s farmers’. While demand for Australian horticultural produce has never been stronger in the region, Mahar says that such growth brings additional policy considerations and industry changes. The council then will provide direct and deeper understanding of the issues of priority to decide on solving sectoral challenges.