Seminar speakers announced

National Fruit Show organisers have announced the speakers and topics for its interactive two-day seminar programme. The seminars are co-organised and supported by Kent based Law firm, Whitehead Monckton ensuring that Britain’s fruit farmers are ahead in legal, legislative and technical issues.

Maidstone Exhibition HallThe seminars will give growers the opportunity to hear industry experts on a number of topics affecting fruit growing, production and marketing.  Wednesday 15th October, the first day of the Show, will see the seminars open with William White, Regional Director of the National Farmers Union.  He will give growers his views on  ‘Growing Conditions for Success’.

Jack Ward, Chief Executive for the British Growers Association Ltd will be giving his views on the importance of innovation in the industry with his topic ‘Innovate or Stagnate’, followed by Adrian Barlow, Chief Executive of English Apples and Pears Ltd.  Adrian will talk to growers about competing in tough markets.  Mike Walters, HM Principal Inspector of Health and Safety, will be giving an update on Health and Safety in Agriculture.  The sessions will close with Nikki Harrison, EMR, looking at rootstock research and future trial prospects at the East Malling orchard evaluation sites.

The seminars on Thursday 16th October will begin with David Bishop, Technical Director of International Controlled Atmosphere, launching their ‘Safepod’ a new dynamic controlled atmosphere storage system set to revolutionise long term storage and the quality of late marketed home grown fruit.

Thierry Ligonniere, Co-Chairman International Fruit Obtention, will update growers on research and development on the continent.  The final session of the day is Tracey Ann Barker from Hadlow College who will update growers about the colleges’ current horticultural success and their current syllabus.

Sarah Calcutt, Chairman, said: “Communicating important topics to the industry is a key part of the National Fruit Show; information and the chance to begin a dialogue about all aspects of the industry is vital to keep the sector up-to-date.  We are delighted that so many aspects will be covered over the two days.”

Competition entries are up on this time the previous year and an unusually large number of early entries for the Heaviest Apple and Heaviest Pear classes suggests that these competitions will be keenly fought. Organisers are looking forward to unveiling a new  purpose built stand for the competition fruit which will enhance the impact of the traditionally stunning display.

The Marden Fruit Show Society, organisers of The National Fruit Show, is based in the South East and will see many of the entries come from this region, however exceptional fruit is grown in other parts of the country.

Agrovista, one of the National Fruit Show’s major sponsors, support a competition for growers from Eastern Counties and the West Midlands.   Nick Rainsley from Agrovista, said: “Our company has growers in many regions and are delighted to support growers from the Midlands and Eastern Counties.  Winners will receive the Agrovista Regional Champion Cup plus prize money.  We are also offering to collect the fruit from growers and deliver to the National Fruit Show for judging on Tuesday 14th October.”

In addition to Agrovista collecting the fruit, HL Hutchinsons/Produce Packaging continue to sponsor all the packaging free of charge for those wishing to enter the competition.  Norma Tompsett in the show office, is happy to provide help and advice to growers wishing to submit an entry for the first time.

Norma said: “We would be delighted to guide any new exhibitors through the process of picking, packing and presenting their fruit.  We welcome all entries and we hope to see an increase in interest from growers out of the county and look forward to awarding the Agrovista Regional Champions Cups this year.”

Norma and her husband Brian have a wealth of experience in entering, and winning National Fruit Show competitions can be contacted on 01732 874564.

The National Fruit Show takes place on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th October 2014; entry to the Show is free.

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