The short-term transition of producer organization funding by Defra provides welcome relief for growers. It also preempts a funding gap that could have had a significant impact on horticultural businesses, said National Farmers’ Union (NFU) horticulture and potatoes board chairman Ali Capper.
Capper: “I’m incredibly pleased that Defra has listened to our concerns and granted a short-term transition to growers that ensures there is no funding gap while a new UK horticulture productivity scheme is developed. Producer organizations are hugely valuable to Britain’s horticulture sector, selling more than 50% of all British fruit and veg, as well as driving cooperation, productivity improvements and technology developments. It is critical that producer organizations have sufficient clarity on the structure of the new support mechanisms ahead of programmes ending, so that they have time to make the necessary preparations.”
The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) had announced in May that it is winding down “significant activities” on behalf of the horticulture and potatoes sectors. While still awaiting a decision on the future by ministers in England, Scotland and Wales, the AHDB wants to reassure levy payers their views have been heard following recent ballots in the two sectors.
As reported on agriland.co.uk, the AHDB is now stopping program that could be restarted in the future by grower associations, individual growers or the supply chain. This work includes for example, export market access and promotional international trade event work, consumer marketing campaigns and market pricing and insight information.