AHDB online DEFRA Consultation

The AHDB Consultation is available online and it is vital your views are heard, this consultation is not restricted to levy payers, if you would like to shape the future of horticulture research please have your say, every opinion counts

Please note that DEFRA have asked for as many individual responses as possible. A BPOA response on behalf of our members only counts as one view, so your consultation response is extremely important.

The BPOA have been involved in discussions with DEFRA, NFU, The Growers’ Better Levy Group (GBLG) and crop associations. The AHDB has been discussed at group meetings and committees.

The BPOA believe we should not tell growers how to respond but we do want to provide you with information and with this in mind we have agreed to circulate the GBLG statements and the view from British Growers.

We have also included some information and ideas from our BPOA meetings these have been raised in discussions with DEFRA.

  • The statutory levy is a fiscal tax which makes it expensive to collect and administer, the research is available to anybody and can’t be restricted to levy payers.
  • The current levy can’t be collected by sector.
  • The current levy can’t be match funded.
  • Some of our members would support a statutory levy if it was changed to be more accountable, with a more modern governance.
  • A voluntary or subscription research model can attract matched funding and tax allowances, the research will belong to subscribers; this would be supported by members.
  • The EAMU & EA service is vital to the industry and a statutory scheme could be supported if all of arboriculture and horticulture contributed.
  • The EAMU & EA service could be supported by a pesticide levy or surcharge.
  • One thing that we did have a consensus view on was the AHDB. The BPOA have lost confidence in AHDB due to funding non-relevant projects, poor value for levy money (running costs out of control) and the lack of budget and cost transparency.
  • AHDB horticulture has been wound down, valuable staff have left, currently the AHDB is not a suitable organisation to run future research.
  • There is a need for a knowledge transfer service, to provide a link between research and industry, important EU research also needs to be translated.
  • The cost of horticulture research should be shared with industry partners.

We have supported the GBLG in their early discussions with DEFRA and have included their latest statement to help you with your response.

British Growers have released the following statement.

It is critical that all growers respond to the AHDB consultation by 10th January 2022: please scroll down to the bottom of the web page and click on the “online survey” in the green box.

The online consultation is available here

The consultation is for all of the AHDB so many questions are about farming.

We believe there are five critical questions Q10 Q12 Q13 Q14 Q15

We have tried to provide some unbiased information for each question.

Q10: Should the AHDB Order be amended to remove the statutory levy in the horticulture sector in Great Britain?

· Yes

· No

· Not applicable

· Please provide any comments to support your choice

You may want to read the GBLG statement before answering, we have tried to suggest some options you might consider. We do know that in discussions with DEFRA the current mechanism can’t be split into sectors and a zero levy may not be available. If you choose to keep the levy mechanism you should include in the comments some of the GBLG suggestions to change or improve it.

If you answer YES to remove the levy, statutory funding will stop and we need to look for other ways to fund industry research.

Please include some comments to support your view.

(If you support a subscription funding model)

The levy calculation is unfair, and should apply to the whole horticultural industry and not just growers. Levy research and EAMU should only be available to levy payers; at the moment anybody can benefit from levy payers funded research or EAMU.

I believe a member only subscription-funding model could support knowledge transfer and advice, with industry sectors funding specific research with matched funding.

(If you don’t believe a subscription or voluntary scheme is the correct way to fund research)

I believe the horticulture research, should be funded by the government. The research is an industry wide solution to perceived pest and disease threats, it is in the government’s interests to provide food and biosecurity to the industry.

(If you don’t want any research)

I don’t believe I need any additional research to run my business and I am happy to pay for specialist research when I need it.

If you answer NO supporting the GBLG statement

You want to keep the levy but want changes, please include some comments to support your view, you have to believe DEFRA will make this happen.

(You want to support a flexible sector levy)

The current statutory levy is applied to all sectors and can’t be imposed by sector, I would like it changed so that individual sectors could reinstate the levy if they want it in the future. The levy should be set to zero until a sector decides to use it.* The levy must be administered by a new levy organization with levy payers voting for the annual levy rate and research or promotional work needed.

The current levy calculation is flawed and needs to be changed. The levy should apply to the whole horticultural industry and not just growers, DEFRA should look at the New Zealand and Australia levy system.

(Support a critical work levy)

A statutory levy should be imposed across all sectors to raise enough income to support critical work; the levy must be administered by a new levy organization with levy payers voting for the annual levy rate and critical work needed.

The current levy calculation is flawed and needs to be changed. The levy should apply to the whole horticultural industry and not just growers.

*at a recent BPOA North West meeting, Ian Smith, DEFRA commented that under the current statutory instrument apparently cannot set a zero levy.

Q12: Do you want the AHDB’s application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain to continue (EA/EAMU application service)?

· Yes

· No

· Not sure

· Not applicable

· Please provide any comments to support your choice

Suggested comments:

If you choose YES to keep the service, please include some comments to support your view, you have to believe DEFRA will make this happen.

The application service for emergency authorisations (EA) and extension of authorisations for minor use (EAMU) crops is a critical service for horticulture. It must continue but not be administered by AHDB, a new levy payer governed organisation will be required to oversee the EA and EAMU service.

If you choose NO then EAMU should be funded in a different way.

(Government funding)

I believe the funding of the application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain, should be funded by the government. It is an industry wide solution to perceived pest and disease threats giving food and biosecurity to the industry.

(Surcharge on pesticides)

I believe the funding of the application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain, should be funded from the sales of pesticides. A new industry governed organisation will be required to oversee the EA and EAMU service to make sure it responds quickly to threats.

Q13: If you want the AHDB’s application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain to continue do you have views and suggestions on how it should be funded? Please provide comments below.

Suggested comments:

Levy funding

The application service for emergency authorisations (EA) and extension of authorisations for minor use (EAMU) crops is a critical service for horticulture. It must continue but not be administered by AHDB, a new levy payer governed organisation will be required to oversee the EA and EAMU service.

Government funding

I believe the funding of the application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain, should be funded by the government. It is an industry wide solution to perceived pest and disease threats giving food and biosecurity to the industry.

Surcharge on pesticides

I believe the funding of the application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain, should be funded from the sales of pesticides. A new industry governed organisation will be required to oversee the EA and EAMU service to make sure it responds quickly to threats.

Q14: Should the AHDB Order be amended to ensure that levy payers can vote on proposals for how the levy will be spent in their sector at least once every five years?

· Yes

· No

· Not applicable

Suggested comments if you choose Yes

Each sector of Horticulture must be allowed to vote on proposals for the level of levy raised and how their levy will be spent. This must be voted for by levy payers, if a majority of growers vote for the plan then all growers should pay through a statutory levy.

Q15: Should the AHDB Order retain the current provision that a ballot on whether the levy should continue must be held if, within a rolling three-month period, requests for a ballot are received from at least 5% of eligible voters?

· Yes

· No

· Not applicable

Please provide any comments to support your choice

Suggested response could be Yes as this is a good backup plan, it is possible we may end up with solution that suits the AHDB and government and not the levy payers, voting yes will keep the option for a quick ballot.

Please note that DEFRA have asked for as many individual responses as possible. A BPOA response on behalf of our members only counts as one view, so your consultation response is extremely important. It is critical that all growers respond to the AHDB consultation by 10th January 2022

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