‘AHDB must give farmers value for money’ – CLA

The roles and activities of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) need to be reviewed, according to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

The CLA, a membership organisation for land, property and business owners in rural England and Wales, says that farmers are not receiving value for money from the AHDB, which is funded by a levy from farmers and growers.

The CLA made the statements in response to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’s request for comments and opinions on how the AHDB can be reformed.

In the CLA’s opinion, the board needs changes in its governance and structure, in order to improve its delivery of services to levy payers.

However, the group said it’s not opposed to the existence of the board.

Tim Breitmeyer, president of the CLA, said: “Farmers and growers already face significant uncertainty as we navigate Brexit and beyond. It is vital for the AHDB to meet the challenge of supporting these industries through this upheaval, especially in preparing for Brexit – deal or no deal.”

Our continued support for the board is dependent on fundamental changes in governance, to ensure transparent decision-making and a focus on delivering for those who pay the levy rather than government objectives.

The association, whose members own or manage over 10 million acres of land across England and Wales, also urged for a change in the membership requirements for the board, saying that a wider range of skills and expertise is necessary.

“Too many farmers and growers are unaware of the work the AHDB does and how it can improve their business, so external communication needs drastically addressing,” added Breitmeyer.