New AHDB chairman Nicholas Saphir is to set out his strategic priorities for the levy board since taking office in April. These also follow the government’s response to the Request for Views survey held earlier this year, which drew particular concern from the potato and horticulture sectors over value for money.

The AHDB’s new five-year strategy will be released for consultation this autumn. Mr Saphir says it will focus on two key areas – market development and farm performance. He has also committed AHDB to a regular levy-payer ballot on the sector levies and how they are spent; a review of the levy system for potatoes and horticulture; and a first review of the AHDB board and committee structure since the body was created in 2008 from six separate sector boards.

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“Our industry is about to undergo significant change driven by a new direction in trade and agriculture policies, as well as shifting consumer demands,” states Mr Saphir. “Farming and supply chain businesses will need to compete with the best in the world, drawing on the latest insight to improve farm performance, grow market opportunities and meet environmental goals.

“That is what we will provide in our new strategy – and we will commit to telling our levy payers on a regular basis how we are spending their money and the benefits it brings.

“Our fantastic work during Covid 19 showed AHDB is at its very best in responding quickly to the needs of farmers, growers and the supply chain at a time of crisis, and we were able to clearly demonstrate the value we add for our levy payers.

“This built on the excellent progress we are making with key AHDB programmes, such as our network of hugely popular Monitor and Strategic farms, our work opening up new export markets, promotion of our products at home and overseas, our research work and our highly-regarded market insight, evidence and analysis,” Mr Saphir concludes.