British Apples and Pears (BAPL), British Berry Growers, and the protected edibles sector, the Cucumber Growers Association, and the Tomato Growers Association have announced a collaboration to ensure research and development continues within the industry despite the demise of the statutory levy and the end of the AHDB horticulture from March 2023.
The organisations are determined to ensure that research and development will continue through a voluntary levy system and collaborate as far as they can in order to drive value for money and to share resource to avoid duplicating costs.
Each crop association is working on a five-year plan for research and development and will consult with members over the summer and autumn this year. The associations are also investigating the best way of continuing the emergency authorisation and EAMU (Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use) programme, which is currently run by AHDB until the end of March 2023.
EAMUs give the UK horticulture industry access to crop protection products, ensuring UK growers have the essential tools they need to protect the health of their crops and to remain competitive. This work prioritises pest and disease issues for each of the crops.
Work is currently underway to identify the best course of action for EAMUs post March 2023. Options include the collective associations sub-contracting this work or employing a new team or external organisation to do this on their behalf. In the meantime, discussions continue with Defra.
Ali Capper, Executive Chair of BAPL, comments: “We are striving to achieve a lower cost, value for money R&D and EAMU programme that is effective and allows its members to benefit from match funding and R&D tax credit, if at all possible. We’d be keen to hear from members of the academic community and other horticultural crop associations if they wish to be a part of this collaborative initiative.”
Members from the crop associations available for comment on the collaboration, include Ali Capper (British Apples & Pears Ltd), Nick Marston (British Berry Growers Ltd), Phil Morley (British Tomato Growers Association) and James Broekhuizen (Cucumber Growers Association).