Change will focus on significantly improving levy payers’ engagement and say on AHDB priorities for their sector and crop, including how much levy is collected and where it is spent. Delivering value for money and designing a modern levy system is at the heart of the future, starting with horticulture and potatoes.
Also included is a commitment to a ballot every five years on the future of the levy, ensuring levy payers have a greater say in designing AHDB work programmes and priorities.
Responding to the strategy, NFU President Minette Batters said:
“It’s great to see such a strong focus on food advocacy, farm business performance and technical advice within the new strategy – some of the main things we highlighted in our case for AHDB review.
“AHDB has clearly listened to the industry and its proposals to improve transparency and governance will be welcome news for many farmers and growers.
“This consultation comes at a challenging time as our sector faces significant uncertainty in the coming weeks and years. Nevertheless, it is crucial that any multi-annual strategy results in an organisation that offers fantastic value for levy investment, alongside greater agility and accountability as farmers and growers meet the challenge of sustainable production this coming decade.
“We will be examining the strategy in greater detail as there are still areas that are not altogether clear, such as how outcomes of levy investment will be measured. We will continue to work with our members to put forward their views during the consultation period.”
Earlier this year AHDB made five commitments following the government's Request for Views:
- We will seek your views on a new strategy this Autumn and communicate regularly on how your levy has been spent and the benefits
- We will hold a ballot on the levies and how they are spent
- We will work with growers to design a modern levy system
- We will focus on farm performance and market development at home and overseas, driven by independent evidence
- We are currently reviewing our board and committee set-up, with recommendations due by the end of the year.
AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir said:
“We have listened very carefully to levy payers’ concerns about delivering value for money in such challenging times, and ensuring our work programmes are fit for purpose. We fully recognise there are genuine differences between challenges facing sectors, crops and species and that one size of offering does not fit all. Levies in the future must be set to reflect the value provided and work priorities clearly agreed with levy payers.
“In addition, AHDB will review the current tools, services and products across all its sectors to see how they are being used by farmers and growers. We will keep listening to levy payers with open board meetings, new levy payer user groups and developing interaction both in person and online.”
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