Farming and Agriculture

Consultation to reform the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

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17 November 2021, UK: The UK Government, in agreement with the Devolved Administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, is seeking views on proposals for a reformed Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), to deliver greater accountability and value for money for farmers across the UK.

The AHDB, an arms-length body of Defra, was established in 2008 to help farmers improve their performance and drive growth through research, knowledge exchange, improving market access and marketing activities.

The consultation follows a Request for Views on the future of the AHDB in 2018, and the results of 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 consultation proposes:

  • 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.

The consultation runs for 7 weeks from 17th November 2021 to midnight on the 10th January 2022.

In a joint statement, UK government and Devolved Administration Ministers said:

Our proposals for a reformed and more accountable AHDB respect the outcome of the horticulture 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.

Further improvements to the governance and structure of the AHDB are already underway. A reformed AHDB will support the delivery of our ambitions for a sustainable and competitive agriculture sector, and will help farmers identify innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions, improve competitiveness and productivity, and access new markets.

The consultation extends to the whole of the United Kingdom. For further details and to respond to the consultation.

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