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AHDB's 5 year strategy 2021 – 2026

The following is a brief summary of the key issues which might be of interest to the fresh produce sector.

One size doesn’t fit all
There is a recognition of the genuine differences between the challenges facing sectors and even within sectors and that levy payers’ requirements for research, marketing, exports or analysis are not the same. Therefore, levies must be set to reflect the value provided.

Modern levy system in horticulture and potatoes
AHDB has listened to industry concerns about the current levy system and during 2020 worked with growers to develop and test a more modern system. AHDB is keen to develop a levy system where future levy rates are based on what levy payers say they want done. These will vary across different horticulture crop groups.

Delivering a more efficient organization
AHDB recognizes the need to be more efficient including cutting costs and providing better value. Existing services and costs will be reviewed to determine if they can be delivered more effectively, notably staff and support costs.

Regular ballots
AHDB is committing to a regular ballot every five years to ensure the organization is accountable and levy payers have a say on the future of the levy.

The specifics for horticulture
The strategy recognizes the outlook for horticulture businesses remains challenging over the next five years, with pressure on margins and resources and an increasingly competitive environment.

The challenges are summarised as:

  • Identifying management tools for existing and emerging pest, weed and disease threats
  • Managing business with increasing staff costs and a shortage of skilled labour
  • Managing resources to minimise environmental impacts and maximise benefits

There are several commitments of interest to the fresh produce sector.

  • Inform tomorrow’s consumers on how their food is produced through an education partnership with the British Nutrition Foundation
  • Fly the flag for British produce overseas with staff in key markets, including China
  • Make the most of established export markets to grow opportunities for British produce
  • Work to secure access to new markets to increase export opportunities
  • Explore the potential for a new export brand to communicate the credentials of British produce overseas
  • Support UK businesses to export by providing practical ‘know-how’ and local insights

Wider non-specific issues

Future key areas of work will centre on:

  • Bringing data, insight and analysis together in an easy-to-use format to help farmers, growers and supply chains make better business decisions
  • Helping farming and growing businesses reduce their environmental footprint to meet future policy and consumer needs
  • Investing in targeted research to tackle current and future pests, weeds and diseases
  • Helping levy payers, industry and researchers share technical information and best practice through the AHDB Farm Excellence Network and skills development
  • Unlocking and making the most of export opportunities to grow markets for British produce
  • Promoting our industry and building the reputation of its products at home and overseas

And finally

AHDB has published the following 5 commitments designed to influence its direction for its next 5 years. 

AHDB will: 

  1. Communicate regularly on how the levy has been spent and the benefits and engage with levy payers to determine priorities
  2. Work with growers and the supply chain to design a modern levy system
  3. Focus on farm performance, marketing and exports, driven by independent evidence
  4. Develop a board and advisory structure that reduces both bureaucracy and costs
  5. Hold a regular ballot on the future of the levy – so levy payers can express their views on the value of AHDB 


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