Before seeing what is widely recognised as the country’s leading centre for scientific horticultural research, members of Kent County Council responsible for overseeing economic development and regeneration, were briefed by Adrian Padfield, Chief Executive of East Malling Trust and Dr Chris Atkinson, Deputy Chief Executive of East Malling Research.
Mark Dance, Chairman of Kent County Council Regeneration and Economic Development Policy, Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “The visit provided a valuable insight into the issues facing Kent’s £2.6 billion rural economy and the important role that East Malling Research plays in supporting crops and future product development.
“This is part of our year-long investigation into the facts behind Kent’s rural economy.”
Adrian Padfield said: “The rural economy is vitally important to the future success of Kent and I’m delighted that our democratically elected representatives have taken time out of their busy diaries to see for themselves why.
“Combine the importance of local employment, with the work being done here in Kent at East Malling Research to help growers adapt to the pressures of climate change and ensuring the country’s future food security, and the argument for supporting the rural economy is a strong one.”
Earlier in the day the delegation spent time at Rumwood Green Farm, near Langley, where they met Sean Charlton, toured the farm and saw his high-tech berry fruit packing operation.