Bexhill and Battle MP visits local Ribena farm

MP for the Bexhill and Battle constituency, Huw Merriman, visited a Ribena blackcurrant farm to find out how the British drink is made during the annual harvest season.

Huw Merrimen, MP for the Bexhill and Battle constituency met with blackcurrant growers Peter and Michael Reeves at Rosemary Farm to celebrate the finish of harvest, and to find out how the makers of Ribena are supporting biodiversity on their farmland.
Huw Merrimen, MP for the Bexhill and Battle constituency met with blackcurrant growers Peter and Michael Reeves at Rosemary Farm to celebrate the finish of harvest, and to find out how the makers of Ribena are supporting biodiversity on their farmland.

The MP visited Rosemary Farm and was given a tour by owners Peter and Michael Reeves. The pair wanted to highlight the importance of protecting local wildlife throughout the growing process.

Mr Merriman said: “Being an MP for a constituency which is 90 per cent rural, the agricultural sector is incredibly important to the local economy and jobs. Visiting Rosemary Farm and getting involved in the harvest is a great way for me to hear directly from local farmers, like Peter and Michael Reeves, about the hard work and challenges involved in growing and harvesting blackcurrant crops.

"Farming is also about careful environmental management, so it was good to learn about how the farm supports bio-diversity and wildlife habitats and as we walked alongside fields full of wildflower which were alive with bees and butterflies.”

Michael Reeves added: “It is always a special day when we get to show people the work we do on our farm, but to be able to welcome Huw has been a real highlight. Our team has been tirelessly preparing for harvest this year, and we are so grateful for the support we get from SBF GB&I on an ongoing basis.”

Ninety percent of all British grown blackcurrants are used to make Ribena, and Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland (SBF GB&I), the company behind Ribena, has said that ensuring the long-term viability of the environments is vital for future harvests.

Harriet Prosser, agronomist at SBF GB&I, said: “Harvest is the most important time of the year for us at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, but we work all year round to make sure our Ribena growers have the support they need to run their farms as sustainably and efficiently as possible.

The farm on the Kent/ East Sussex boarder, run by brothers Peter and Michael Reeves is a great example of how responsible farming practices not only protect and even enhance wildlife and habitats, but also ensure that local economies continue to thrive.”