Alison Capper  -  Exporting Great British hops & apples

Worshipful Company of Fruiterers
Three Counties Agricultural Society

I'm from Suckley in Worcestershire, UK and my Nuffield Scholarship is sponsored by The Three Counties Agricultural Society & The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers. 

I farm in Partnership at Stocks Farm, Suckley, Worcestershire with my husband Richard and his father Mark. We are horticulturists that specialise in growing hops and apples. We farm 82 hectares of top fruit and hops and produce 250,000 broiler chickens each year.

My former 15 year career was in Advertising & Marketing, running an agency that was sold to WPP in 2001. Today, in addition to numerous roles at the farm, my work includes various work on the boards of The British Hop Association, The Hop Industry Committee, The NFU's National Horticulture Board and the Norton Cider Growers Association.

We have two gorgeous children Paddy (10) and Serena (6), a jack russell called Bertie and a cat called Tibbles who found us!

My Nuffield travel plans include New Zealand (completed in Feb 2013), Europe incl: Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland & Germany plus North & possibly South America.

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British Hops and niche British Apple varieties have significant opportunities for export. I would like to identify the market opportunities, the routes to market, the recommended marketing strategy & approach, but fundamentally my study will be directed to finding export models that create the most effective commercial collaboration structures for growers wishing to exploit these markets.

To achieve this I'm hoping to visit growers in those countries already successful in the export of hops and apples, but also of other food products. As UK agriculture has neither a reputation for grower collaboration nor export, I'm hoping the outcomes will be useful for other sectors of horticulture and agriculture.