The horticulture sector has spoken and AHDB has acted to support the industry and Defra in securing the long-term support for EAMU/EA work for the horticulture sector.
Following careful consideration of the implications and to ensure the ongoing essential work in connection with EAMU/EA services, the AHDB Board has agreed, in principle, for the transfer of surplus levy funds to the new company Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd (HCP).
It is envisaged the funding will bring a degree of certainty and enables important ongoing work to continue as the new organisation develops its operation.
Discussions are still taking place between the parties on the exact details of the arrangements, but industry associations have wholly signalled their support of a new voluntary subscription model as proposed by HCP and the move is considered a natural follow-on from the work previously undertaken by the levy board.
It is anticipated the sum involved is up to £1 million which will be made over by way of a grant over a period of time. The transfer of these levy monies is subject to Defra approval.
During the period of transition from the existing system to the new organisation, the team at AHDB are managing the pipeline of work on EAs and EAMUs to give the new organisation the greatest chance of success.
In the potato sector, some proposals have been submitted to the AHDB Board for small grants for important work to continue in the absence of AHDB Potatoes taking the lead.
The move away from the levy body to a new era has some way to go in this sector, especially as the AHDB board have noted that any grant scheme would be contingent of finalising the sale of the Sutton Bridge research facility and collecting outstanding debt from potato for businesses for the 2021 growing season.
The AHDB board felt that a public demonstration of support on a scale achieved in horticulture would allow progress on grant schemes.