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03.03.03
Blooming marvellous! - Cornish Horticulture Enterprises grants £750,000 to daffodil growers.

Cornwall's daffodil industry, an important part of the Cornish landscape at this time of year, is receiving a boost thanks to investments totalling £750,000 to enable twelve of Cornwall's growers to bring their businesses into bloom over the next three years.

Cornish Horticulture Enterprises, the Objective One umbrella scheme that provides capital investment to help farmers add value to their primary horticultural produce through processing, packing or marketing, has approved investments that will assist eleven projects.

The investments, which involve twelve growers, will provide funding for bulb grading and packing facilities. Daffodil bulbs are lifted from the ground every two-to-three years, with around half the bulbs replanted and the remainder are sold to bulb marketing companies to later go onto garden centres and other outlets in the UK, Europe and the USA. To enable growers to be successful in this highly competitive market, bulbs have to be cleaned and graded to ensure only the highest quality bulbs reach these markets. The funding from CHE will enable growers to purchase the necessary equipment to carry out this process on site.

Other investments include revenue funding for individual growers and groups to develop web sites and promote the Cornish flowers and bulbs at National and International shows, as well as developing markets in the UK and abroad.

One recent investment at Winchester Growers Ltd, Varfell Farm, Penzance is having a significant effect. The introduction of three Flow-Wrapping and labelling machines has increased output and reduced cost. These daffodils previously would have been picked and transported to Lincolnshire for packing, but are now packed at Varfell, securing more jobs in Cornwall and saving significant transport costs.

Winchester Growers pack about sixteen million bunches for supermarkets in the UK, Europe and USA. To supplement their own production, Winchester market five million bunches from ten Cornish growers as well as bulbs in the summer/autumn.

Chris May of Winchester Growers said: "The machines are making a huge difference to our business. We are able to deal with large volumes daily, using a dedicated work force. The flowers are pre-cooled, packed on the new Flow-Wrap machines, pre-cooled for the second time before being distributed at optimum temperatures direct to the retail customer. This system extends 'shelf life' for the retailer and 'vase life' for the consumer. Involving the local growers has provided us with greater volume of quality product, which has allowed them to concentrate on production and Winchester on processing and marketing."

Roger Whilding of CHE Ltd, said: "We were very pleased to be able to facilitate Objective One funding for these growers to help protect and expand their sales of flowers and bulbs and improve the quality of both product and the packaging. Several growers are developing their own sales through collaborative websites and local sales through the Eden Project."

The twelve projects have a combined total project value of £780,912 have received £163,933 of their funding from the Objective One European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) with match funding from DEFRA and the additional funding from the individual growers.

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Editor's notes:

European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)

EAGGF is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is making £314 million available to support the local economy between 2000 and 2006.

EAGGF aims to:

• Help preserve the link between diversified farming and the land.

• Improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture as a key activity in rural areas.

• Ensure the diversification of the economy in rural areas.

• Help to keep thriving communities in rural areas.

• Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape and the rural heritage.

For further information contact:

Roger Whilding
Cornish Horticultural Enterprises
01626 890405

Chris May
Winchester Growers
01736 711271

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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