Britain’s booming local food industry has been given a further boost following a government grant which will enable scientists to develop new varieties of weather-hardy fruits.
The £1.9m investment will help scientists at the National Fruit Collection identify the varieties of fruit most resilient to extreme weather conditions so that producers can grow and sell more British fruit come rain or shine.
From apples that can withstand drought, to cherries and plums that can flourish in heavy rain, the research will help to ensure that shoppers can can enjoy the best of British produce all year round - whatever the weather, farming minister George Eustice said.
“Our world-leading scientific research and strong fruit-growing heritage means scientists are finding new ways to ensure our food and farming industry continues to thrive,” he added.
This year has already been a bumper one for British fruit crops, with near-perfect conditions resulting in six times as many apricots and 20% more home-grown cherries than in 2014.
Cherry sales are predicted to reach in excess of £32m and this summer also looks set to be a record breaker for the UK’s strawberry crop, with industry body British Summer Fruits, predicting £325m of British strawberry sales in 2015, beating last year’s record of £275m in 2014.