Future of AHDB up for discussion as consultation opens

The Government has launched a consultation for views on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Officials are particularly keen to seek the views of farmers, growers, and others across the UK who pay a levy to fund the body.

A Government spokesperson said: “AHDB was created 10 years ago. Since then, the industries it supports have changed and AHDB has become more strategic and efficient. Change is set to continue.

As we leave the European Union, it is a good time to consider what AHDB’s future role and activities should be.

“Across the UK we want agriculture and horticulture to flourish as competitive, highly skilled, high investment industries.”

The consultation seeks to find out which of the organisation’s services are most cherished by farmers and whether levy payers continue to pay money on the same basis in future.

It also asks what the organisation’s priorities and key services should be going forward.

The consultation is open for 10 weeks and will close at 11:45pm on November 9, 2018. Responses can be made online.

AHDB was created in 2008 following an extensive review of its predecessor levy bodies. The board serves six agricultural and horticultural sectors, with varying coverage across England, Great Britain, or the UK.

Between them, its divisions cover over 70% of the total UK agricultural and horticultural output.

The body raises about £60 million a year in statutory levies as well as around £10 million of non-levy income from EU grants, fees for services, and from its commercial subsidiary, Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Ltd (MLCSL).

AHDB employs around 430 staff, with around 100 more in MLCSL.