11 July 2000
‘Free up horticulture know-how’
By FWi staff
A CROSS-PARTY group of MPs has urged the government to commercialise the activities of the research group Horticulture Research International (HRI).
HRI currently carries out horticultural research and development. Results are then transferred to UK horticultural growers and other interested parties.
But a report released on Tuesday (11 July) by the House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee says organisations work is restricted.
The MPs say making HRI a statutory body would allow it to become more commercially oriented when facing cuts in government funding.
Michael Holmes, horticultural executive committee chairman with the National Farmers Union, welcomed the news.
“HRI is this countrys largest horticultural researcher, with an impressive reputation,” he said.
“We hope the committees recommendations are adopted and that they help HRI to continue its crucial work,” Mr Holmes added.
“More importantly, is that the Ministry of Agriculture fully understands the value of this vital facility and its work to the industry and continues to support it.”
At the moment Horticulture Research International is an executive Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture.
It was established in 1990, after a MAFF review of horticultural research and has the largest single team of horticultural scientists in the world.