AHDB potato levy ballot opens

Potato growers are being urged to cast their vote in the AHDB potatoes levy ballot, which closes on 17 March.

In a repeat of the AHDB horticulture ballot, which took place earlier this year and yielded a 61% no vote, the potatoes ballot also seeks to identify whether growers support the continuation of a statutory levy.

The official ballot is being called after AHDB received formal requests from more than 5% of levy payers in the sector, the threshold at which it is required to do so.

All levy payers within the sector are invited to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as to whether or not they support the continuation of a statutory levy for potatoes. This is the only question that can be asked under the existing regulations, so there will no other options, such as a voluntary levy, which some growers have proposed.

After the ballot has closed, the results will be analysed and verified before being passed to ministers and published on AHDB’s website. The outcome of the ballot is not binding on the government. Ministers will take account of the result in deciding the future of the levy.

If growers vote to end the statutory levy, and ministers decide to abolish it, AHDB Potatoes will no longer collect it and all research and development and other services it provides will cease. This includes coordination of applications for extension-of-use approvals for plant-protection products.

If the result supports the levy’s retention, AHDB will continue to deliver the reforms set out in its strategic plan, which was published in December.

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