Ministers have appointed Nicholas Saphir to chair the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) for a three-year term starting on April 1st 2020. He succeeds Sir Peter Kendall who has chaired the levy board for the last six years.

Mr Saphir has nearly 40 years’ experience in agricultural marketing and national policy making. He was chairman and chief executive of the Hunter Saphir business with fruit and arable farms in Kent, Holland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Argentina and Uruguay, until the company was sold to Albert Fisher in 1992.

In 1983, Mr Saphir was appointed as the founder chairman of Food from Britain, the Thatcher government initiative to promote UK food and drink exports. He subsequently chaired the Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation Fresh Produce Consortium and Agricultural Forum.

For the last 18 years Mr Saphir has chaired the Organic Milk Producers’ Cooperative (OMSCo), now the world’s second largest dedicated organic milk co-operative which exports cheese, butter and infant formula grade milk powders to the US, EU and Australasia. It was a significant achievement to comply with the strict US organic import requirements.

“Nicholas Saphir has a wealth of experience in the food and farming industry, with a diverse understanding of marketing and trade across a variety of sectors,” says Defra farming minister Victoria Prentis MP. “I am confident he will provide the AHDB with strong leadership, clear vision and enthusiasm as the sector enters a time of change. I’d also like to thank Peter Kendall for his dedication to the AHDB, and the sector as a whole, over the past six years.”

Mr Saphir adds: “I’m delighted to be involved with AHDB at this pivotal time of change for UK agriculture and horticulture. The AHDB has a vital role to play in helping to equip farmers, growers and processors to make the most of the opportunities and tackle the challenges that lie ahead.”