The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the United Kingdom, after a levy payers vote, are winding up the Horticulture Sector and transferring £1 million to a newly formed company called Horticulture Crops Ltd. A group of levy payers are not happy with this decision and have issued the following letter:
Simon Redden, John Bratley, and Peter Thorold have become known as the AHDB Petitioners.
"AHDB recently announced that they intend to give around £1 million surplus resulting from the wind up of the Horticultural Sector to a newly formed start-up company (Horticultural Crops Ltd) without consulting levy payers.
We believe that this generous subsidy to Horticultural Crops Ltd will disadvantage those in the industry who have been quietly and independently getting on with the work on EAMUs. Also, unlike existing companies doing EAMU work, this new company has no track record of either efficiency or results.
While Growers are free to support such a new company if they wish, it should not be on the back of surplus levies from Growers who have struggled to pay under legal threat. The majority expect their monies to be paid back, which in any democratic organization, would happen. Why not with AHDB?
It is evident from AHDB's action via their main board that they still do not accept the result of the ballot, with more than 60% of levy payers voting no to any more research or EAMUs, having lost faith in AHDB's effect on the industry.
It is apparent that AHDB does not, and perhaps never have, understood the financial pressures horticulture has labored under in comparison to the subsidized agriculture they are surrounded by.
We have no opposition to the voluntary action by Crop Associations to carry on with EAMUs – but not with our money!" the AHDB Petitioners complained.
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