AHDB PLEDGES TO REFORM IN RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR VIEWS

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02 September 2020
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AHDB PLEDGES TO REFORM IN RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR VIEWS

Improved communication with potato grower levy payers on how their money is spent is to form part of the AHDB’s new strategy, in response to the Government’s Request for Views, published earlier this year.

A regular ballot on the AHDB levy and how it is spent, a review of the levy system for potatoes and horticulture, and a review of AHDB’s board and committee structure will all be implemented, going forward.

AHDB Chair Nicholas Saphir said: “We have listened carefully to the views expressed by levy payers in response to the Government-led Request for Views, and we are now committed to some key reforms to ensure we are fit for purpose in the changing times British agriculture is facing.”

The AHDB’s new five-year strategy is being published for feedback this autumn.

Nicholas, who was appointed in April 2020, said since the outbreak of Covid 19, AHDB had responded quickly to the needs of farmers, growers and the supply chain and this has complemented key AHDB programmes, such as Strategic farms, the opening of new export markets, promotion of products at home and overseas and analysis.

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AHDB has committed to a regular ballot on the sector levies and how they are spent. The timings and format of any ballot will need to be worked out in detail with Defra, and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments before being incorporated into the statutory legislation which covers AHDB.

Alongside this, AHDB will review and update the levy calculations for potatoes, which is based on hectares planted. These levy systems predate AHDB’s formation in 2008.

Nicholas said: “This is a piece of work which has been in train for some time, and we are very aware of the current strength of feeling in these sectors. We are working with growers to see how we can design a more modern system.”

The final part of AHDB’s reforms will focus on the current structure of AHDB boards and committees, which has been in place since the organisation was founded in 2008. An independent review of governance has already been put in place and will produce recommendations for change by the end of 2020.