Top fruit growers Norman Collett, the Fruit Growers Alliance (FGA) and the Society of Top Fruit Growers (SGT) are merging to form a fully integrated fruit marketing and growing group.

The new business will be called Avalon Produce Ltd and will begin trading with immediate effect for 2015/16. MD Ashley Bernhard - former Norman Collett FD - said it would offer “significant improvements” in operating efficiency and better customer support. The group is looking to market 45,000 tonnes of top fruit for 2015/16.

Adrian Barlow, CEO of English apples & pears, said: “This will be very beneficial for growers, and the new business will have more strength in the marketplace.”