British horticulture should invite consumers to pay to have fruit and veg varieties named after themselves or their loved ones, according to an industry expert.
Peter Seabrook, speaking at East Malling Research, said the cash generated by the scheme - which has been used in the rose sector - would help growers here develop new varieties and stave off foreign competition.
He cited Malling Pearl, a successful EMR-developed late strawberry, as an example of what could be achieved through investment in R&D.
Seabrook also called for the industry to do more to offset the amount of publicity that is given to the organic market.
While the sector accounted for just 2-4% of sales, it was getting a disproportionate amount of media coverage, Seabrook said.
He also said that growers could do more to promote the benefits of some GM technologies, such as those that could help crops become disease-resistant and thereby reduce the use of pesticides.