The UK’s first dedicated land-based free school, The Rural Enterprise Academy, played host to Staffordshire Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre last week.

The school, based in Penkridge, opened in September 2012 and invited Miss McIntyre to talk about her work as an MEP and in particular about her role on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.

“This visit was particularly timely as I had earlier in the week started taking evidence for a report I am writing on the horticultural sector and have invited members of the European Agriculture Committee to visit the West Midlands during the coming week to see that our region is not solely based on manufacturing.

I found the pupils at the Rural Enterprise Academy to be really engaged in and passionate about their work. I was keen to highlight the many interesting and rewarding careers open to them in agriculture in the broadest sense, for example there is a real need for more plant scientists.

"We also talked about careers in politics, I am always keen to encourage people to take an interest and get involved.

“I am always especially delighted to have the opportunity to meet groups of school students – they are normally keen to explore how the Parliament works and how decisions are made, and their questions are often very penetrating.” said Miss McIntyre.

“I am grateful to the Principal, Lorraine Makin, for making my visit so enjoyable and I am wish the Academy every success.”

 

(Photo shows the Principal, Lorraine Makin with pupils and Anthea McIntyre MEP)

Students from Bedworth’s Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College met their Conservative MEP, Anthea McIntyre, last week whilst on a visit to Stratford.

The pupils, aged 11 and 12, took the opportunity to present Miss McIntyre with a petition calling on the EU Trade Commissioner, Karel de Gucht,  to remove the trade preference for Uzbekistan.

“The petition cites the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, including state-sponsored child labour, and I found it both very moving and encouraging to see so many young people interested in a global issue and taking this civic action” said Miss McIntyre.

I will certainly pursue their concerns with the Trade Commissioner.”

The students also learnt more about Anthea’s work as an MEP and how the EU works.

“I am always especially delighted to have the opportunity to meet groups of school students – they are normally keen to explore how the Parliament works and how decisions are made, and their questions are often very penetrating.”

 

(Photo shows pupils from Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College presenting Anthea McIntyre with their petition.) 

One of Herefordshire’s leading farmers gave evidence this week to the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on the issues facing the horticulture industry.

Anthony Snell of Herewood End, who is also Vice-Chairman of the NFU Horticulture Board, was invited to Brussels by local MEP Anthea McIntyre to a special hearing considering the future of Europe's Horticulture sector.

During his  detailed presentation, Mr Snell explained that the West Midlands produces 13% of the UK’s potatoes, 20% of its soft fruit, 35% of its blackcurrants, 60% of its cider apples and 65% of its asparagus and that half of the total production came from Herefordshire.

The West Midlands horticulture sector is worth some €350 million at the farm gate, which is more than either the dairy or cereal sectors.

Mr Snell expressed his optimism for the sector’s future but cautioned that climate change and the issues around water security could not be overlooked.

He also called upon the EU to base decisions such as the two-year ban on the use of neonicitinoides on hard scientific evidence rather than emotion.

Summing up the evidence presented by Mr Snell and other industry experts, Anthea McIntyre stressed the need for research and development work undertaken by various bodies to be translated into practical applications that the sector’s farmers can use.

She also urged the industry to work harder to demonstrate the varied career opportunities that horticulture offers:  “There is tremendous potential for our brightest and best young people to make a great career in horticulture but, like much of the farming industry, more needs to be done to highlight those opportunities.”

(Photo shows (l to r) Julie Girling MEP, Anthony Snell, Anthea McIntyre MEP, Richard Ashworth MEP and Jim Nicholson MEP following Mr Snell’s evidence to the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development Committee.)

 

Horticulture - a question of growing potential

 

Plans for boosting the horticulture sector across Europe were under discussion in Brussels this week at a hearing called by British MEP Anthea McIntyre.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, is lead negotiator for the European Parliament on plans to introduce new strategies in the sector to boost productivity, competitiveness and income.

She called the hearing, along with the chairman of the Parliament's Agriculture Committee, in order to hear the widest possible range of expert advice before drawing up her initial report.

In advance of today's meeting at the European Parliament she said:  "Horticulture is an important and expanding part of agriculture right across Europe, but we believe it has the capacity to contribute even more to the overall food-production mix.

"Changing technology is leading to rapid advances to do with growing conditions and husbandry, which means the potential for further expansion and better yields is huge. This sector can start to play a hugely important role in addressing issues of food security and affordable nutrition."

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20130709-0900-COMMITTEE-AGRI 

Above is a link to the Public Hearing on "The future of Europe's Horticulture sector - strategies for growth"

The future of Europe's Horticulture sector - strategies for growth (INI). The hearing took place in the Committee of Agriculture and Rural Development and was organised by Anthea as the draftsman (Rapporteur) of the Committee report on horticulutre, also entitled "The future of Europe's Horticulture sector - strategies for growth".