THERE will be no horticulture section at this year's Royal Welsh Show due to 'extreme financial challenges'.
In a statement this afternoon, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society said that after much consideration, it has decided not to stage the Horticulture Section at the 2023 Royal Welsh Show, but big plans are being put in place to revamp the section in time for next year’s show.
The society said: "The difficult decision is due to the extreme financial challenges the RWAS has faced in the wake of the pandemic, rising costs and inflation.
"Last year, the society experienced a significant operating loss, which is forecast to develop into a major budget deficit if current spending is continued.
"When looking for areas to grow income and cut down costs, the society identified that the Horticulture Section of the show is losing around £40,000 each year, thus leading to the decision to give the section a break in 2023."
Richard Price, the Honorary Show Director added: “While we fully recognise this will be disappointing news for many visitors, competitors and volunteers, the year’s break will be an opportunity to develop the Horticulture Section ahead of a big re-launch in 2024. By having, in effect, a ‘fallow year’, it will give us more time to review how best we promote horticulture at the show going forward.”
Aled Rhys Jones, the Chief Executive said: “This is an exciting opportunity to look at new ways to grow the section, working with other organisations, businesses and stakeholders to expand to areas such as winemaking, sensory gardens and junior competitions. There is also an opportunity to support the Welsh Government’s ambition to grow more of the fruit and vegetables we eat here in Wales, alongside targets to grow the commercial sector for ornamental horticulture.”
The society said that visitors will still be able to enjoy the many horticulture and gardening themed tradestands at the show and the Honey Section will be relocated to the South Glamorgan Exhibition Hall for 2023.
In addition, there will be a brand-new Welsh Food Village located at Entrance B, which will feature the very best of Welsh food and drink, along with a live music stage and seating to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
The promotion of horticulture is one of the society’s key charitable objectives and will continue to be an important feature in all our events, including the gardening stands at the Smallholding & Countryside Festival in May and the floral art and horticulture competitions at the Winter Fair in November.
The society also thanked Dr Fred Slater, Assistant Honorary Director for Horticulture, for his dedication to the section as he embarks on his retirement later this year. Dr Slater has been involved with the Society since 1976 and is a true stalwart and ambassador for horticulture.