Royal Welsh Show 2023: Why the Horticulture Section won't feature at the show this year

  • ITV Wales reporter Gwennan Campbell met organisers at the Tivyside Agricultural Show to understand the challenges behind hosting horticulture tents

Horticulture competitors and visitors to the Royal Welsh Show have voiced their disappointment and "upset" about the Horticulture Section being axed for the 2023 event.

Despite the Horticulture Section being one of the longest-running elements of the Royal Welsh, which kicked off in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells on Monday, it won't be featuring in this year's show.

According to the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, the area was losing around £40,000 each year.

It comes as organisers of another agricultural show in Wales have warned they are facing similar challenges which could "make or break" their own show's future.

Richard Price, the Honorary Show Director, said the year’s break will be an opportunity to develop the Section ahead of a re-launch in 2024.

Announcing the move to axe the Horticulture Section back in April, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society said the decision was a "difficult" one, and was down to the "extreme financial challenges" it faced following the pandemic, rising costs and inflation.

The Society said it suffered a significant operating loss in 2022, which it said is set to develop into a "major budget deficit" if current spending continues.

Organisers at another agricultural show, the Sioe Amaethyddol Dyffryn Teifi (Tivyside Agricultural Show), told ITV Wales their own horticulture marquee could face a similar fate – and that rising costs are to blame.

Bethan James, Tivyside Show's treasurer, said: "The worst bill that I've got to pay every year is the marquee bill. It causes me anxiety every time I have to pay it. So it does have a massive financial impact on us.

She added: "The entries are unfortunately getting less and less every year, and it is something unfortunately that with the costs of things going up, that it could make or break the show."

Visitors will still be able to enjoy horticulture and gardening themed tradestands at the show.

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society said that the decision to give the Horticulture Section a break in 2023 is giving it a "chance to pause, reflect and press the reset button."

It said: "We want to take the competitive elements that have been so successful in the past and combine it with a new layout, design and content ready to make a big impact in 2024.

"Our vision for the future of the section will be launched on the Tuesday of the Royal Welsh Show where we will be looking to celebrate all aspects of horticulture in Wales – from community to commercial growing, health and social benefits, education and the provision of sustainable Welsh produce.”

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