Horticulture section entries at a previous Royal Welsh Show.
Royal Welsh Show organisers have shelved the loss making horticulture section at this year’s event to cut costs, but there are plans for a big relaunch in 2024.
The section has been losing around £40,000 each year and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS), faced with extreme financial challenges following the pandemic, rising costs and inflation, has to cut costs.
Last year, the RWAS experienced a significant operating loss, which is forecast to become a major budget deficit without spending cuts.
Richard Price, honorary show director, said: “Whilst 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.
“Having, in effect, a fallow year will give us more time to review how best we promote horticulture at the show going forward.”
Aled Rhys Jones, RWAS chief executive, added: “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.”
Visitors will still be able to enjoy the many horticulture and gardening themed trade stands 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.
Promotion of horticulture is one of the RWAS’ key charitable objectives and will continue to be important in all 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 RWAS thanked Dr Fred Slater, assistant honorary director for horticulture, for his dedication to the section. Dr Slater, who retires later this year, has been involved with the RWAS since 1976 and is a true stalwart and ambassador for horticulture.
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