The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) is now stopping programmes of work that could be restarted in the future by grower associations or individual growers
The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) has announced that it is winding down “significant activities” on behalf of the horticulture and potatoes sectors.
While still awaiting a decision on the future by Ministers in England, Scotland and Wales, the AHDB wants to reassure levy payers their views have been heard following recent ballots in the two sectors.
The AHDB is now stopping programmes of work that could be restarted in the future by grower associations, individual growers or the supply chain.
The AHDB will continue to deliver limited emergency work on pests and diseases, including the Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU)’s and some contracted research work.
This limited work will be continued in the interim, as it would be difficult to restart and would be detrimental to the industry to stop while a managed transition, or a different funding mechanism, is considered as part of any ministerial decision on the future.
Already contracted research work in horticulture is planned to be funded through to completion and findings made available to growers.
Interim CEO of AHDB, Ken Boyns, said this is the ‘responsible’ thing to do while waiting for ministers to decide on the future of the horticulture and potato levies.
Levy return forms will be issued by post and email over the coming fortnight in line with AHDB’s legal obligations, but invoices will not be issued until Ministers have made a decision on levy rates.
Boyns urged levy payers to be patient in this period of transition.
He said: We are taking a responsible approach in winding-down our work programmes for the horticulture and potato sectors.
Additionally, the AHDB is legally obliged to collect a levy until such time as parliament amends the legislation, he added. However, at this point we are asking for the data to be provided through the levy return process. Invoices will not be issued until we have ministerial decisions.
I would also hope that even those who voted against continuation will understand that it will take a little time to make the changes that we need to make, he said.
We ask growers to respect the contribution they have made to horticulture and potatoes and the personal empathy required as we implement these changes, he concluded.