Kent farmer looks to boost cobnut industry

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Tom Cannon is the third generation who is involved in his family farm in Kent, Roughway Farm. The farm launched online to provide fresh product such as Kent Cobnuts and Cherries which went directly to the customer.

Kentish Hazelnut production, which is also known as Kentish Cobnuts, have led to exceptional landscapes within the county and across the country, and preserving the industry is important for the rural economy and environment, although many traditional orchards have been lost to neglect grubbing up and development.

Mr Cannon has won a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust research grant to investigate hazelnut production throughout the northern and southern hemispheres. He will be visiting counties such as: Turkey, China, Australia and New Zealand. He hopes to gain knowledge on how other countries farm and market their crops, how it can form a useful diversification enterprise and its place in communities and local economies.

Mr Cannon states “The overall aim of the project is to make sure that the humble Kentish Cobnut remains a well marketed product that is popular with the buying public,” 

Speaking on receiving the award Mr Cannon said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel, learn and meet so many interesting people from all over the world.

“I am honoured to be given the chance to bring back valuable knowledge to the UK for the benefit of our cobnut sector, rural economy, history, environment and landscape.

“I see this as such an important mission, and it is also excellent to be contributing to Winston Churchill’s living legacy. I hope I can also inspire others to apply for their own Churchill Fellowships. I can’t wait for my global adventure to begin.”