The UK government and the devolved government's of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have agreed to end the statutory levy for the horticulture and potato sectors in Great Britain from April 2022.

However, while the levies will be lifted, these sectors will remain in the scope of the AHDB Order in Great Britain and can contribute to work with the AHDB if they wish to on a voluntary levy or commercial basis.

The decision comes after the results of a public consultation to reform the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) were published, which overall, revealed mixed reviews.

For example, with regards to views on ending the potato levy, 33.4% of participants voted 'Yes' (to end the levy), 11.3% voted 'No', 1.7% didn't answer and 53.6% of answers were 'Not applicable', meaning the proposal was not relevant to them. With regards to the horticulture levy, 32.3% voted 'Yes', 28.5% voted 'No', 1.9% didn't vote and 37.2% of votes were 'Not applicable'.

Having considered the range of views, the governments have also announced a new regular vote for levy payers in other sectors across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to help inform and shape sector plans.

This will most likely be welcomed as 87.4% of respondents to the consultation said the AHDB Order should be amended to ensure that levy payers can vote on proposals for how the levy will be spent in their sector at least once every five years.

This is an important opportunity for levy payers to influence how their money is spent, and to ensure the organisation is focussed on delivering sectors’ priorities. Levy payers will need to register to vote with the AHDB before noon on March 31, to take part in the first vote in April 2022.

In a joint statement, the UK government and devolved government ministers said:

“We have committed to a reformed AHDB, one that works for all of its levy payers.

"This response is testament to our endeavour to deliver a more efficient organisation, and better value for money for farmers and growers across the whole of the UK.

“We trust that a reformed and more accountable AHDB will be effective in supporting the delivery of our shared ambitions for a sustainable and competitive agriculture sector, and will help farmers identify innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions, improve productivity, as well as confidence in exploring new market opportunities.”