A consultation seeking views on proposals for a reformed Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has opened today (November 17) and will run for seven weeks until midnight on January 10, 2022.
The consultation follows a Request for Views on the future of the AHDB in 2018, and the results of the recent ballots in the horticulture and potato sectors to end the statutory levy in these two sectors.
It is aimed at farmers, growers, processors and others in the food supply chain across the UK who pay a statutory levy specifically to the AHDB.
The AHDB, established in 2008, is an arms-length body of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Its aim and purpose is to help farmers improve their performance and drive-growth through research, knowledge exchange, improving market access and marketing activities.
The views are being sought by the UK government, in agreement with the Devolved Administration of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the consultation proposes the following:
- To end the statutory levy in the horticulture and potato sectors from April 2022. The government and the Devolved Administrations remain open to exploring industry-led proposals for the AHDB to deliver research and market development activities through a range of other funding methods, such as voluntary levies, commercial agreements or new statutory levies where there is widespread support for this; and
- To allow levy payers in other sectors a greater say on how the levy is spent, through a vote on sector plans every five years. The AHDB has committed to delivering the first vote on sector work programmes in the spring of 2022.
In a joint statement, the UK government and Devolved Administration Ministers said:
“Our proposals for a reformed and more accountable AHDB respect the outcome the hortictulre and potato ballots and sit alongside improvements already underway to deliver a more efficient organisation, and better value for money for farmers and growers
“We encourage farmers, growers and all relevant stakeholders across the UK to submit their views and help us shape the AHDB of the future.”