Farming News - AHDB "winds" down their Horticulture and Potatoes sectors

AHDB "winds" down their Horticulture and Potatoes sectors

10 Jun 2021
Frontdesk / Arable

Following the recent ballots in AHDB’s Horticulture and Potatoes sectors, the AHDB Board has agreed a programme of managed wind-down and transition of levy payer activities for these sectors during 2021/22.   

  • This programme is subject to a Ministerial decision on the future of selected activities, which is expected by Summer 2021.
  • The programme has been put together following detailed advice from AHDB’s Horticulture and Potato Sector Boards (details and timings are set out below).
  • AHDB is making funding provision for current research programmes in Horticulture and Potatoes to the end of the research contract. 42 research contracts will end by March 2022.
  • Subject to a Ministerial decision, the remaining research contracts and other technical work that is wanted and valued by growers, but might need a managed transition, will be reviewed to ensure levy payers do not lose the value of their investment to date in these projects.
  • All other activity for Horticulture and Potatoes during 2021/22 will be stopped at appropriate points in the growing season.
  • Staffing levels will be managed accordingly across the year.

In Potatoes, all new storage research at Sutton Bridge will stop from now onwards, with a limited Knowledge Exchange service available until the end of May 2022. This will be to complete data and analysis work associated with the current trials programme and support for the industry for storage trials with alternative suppliers.

On the principle that other AHDB sectors should not bear the cost of the wind-down and transition, AHDB Horticulture and AHDB Potatoes will continue to fund their share of committed cross sector activity programmes during 21/22.

AHDB Horticulture and Potatoes work will be archived and will be made accessible online to levy payers by March 2022 to ensure the industry can continue to benefit longer term from its investment.

Communications to Horticulture and Potatoes levy payers

Results from Horticulture and Potatoes work continuing in 21/22 – including Sutton Bridge Crop Storage research - will be made available on the AHDB website. This will be supported with a limited number of events which are part of a contractual commitment. All other events for levy payers will stop from the beginning of July.

Communications to levy payers from July onwards will be limited to in-season EAMU notifications, potato storage results and essential updates such as emergency pest and disease communications.

Levy collection, 21/22

2021/22 levy will continue to be collected in the Horticulture and Potatoes sectors during the financial year, and AHDB will be publishing the actual levy rate in due course after it has been approved by Ministers.  

AHDB has to fund operational liabilities associated with the wind-down contracts, people and assets. This means that some level of levy will be needed in 2021 to supplement sector reserves to cover these costs as the change is managed through.

This wind-down programme will enable AHDB to calculate and set levy at the lowest possible rate.    

Transition programme

AHDB is in ongoing discussions with Defra, the Devolved Administrations, industry representatives and levy payers about the possible transition of services to other providers. 

Initial expressions of interest from companies, organisations or industry groups in taking on existing work or packages of stopped work should be registered via email to Rob Clayton. Email: rob.clayton@ahdb.org.uk

For more information, see AHDB’s previous statement of 14 May

Contracts

The following research and knowledge exchange projects will be funded until the end of the contract.

Click on the links below for more information:

Horticulture

Potatoes