February vote for potato levy

Nicholas Saphir, Chair of the AHDB.Nicholas Saphir, Chair of the AHDB.
Nicholas Saphir, Chair of the AHDB.
With 176 levy payers backing last week’s call for a ballot on the continuation of the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) statutory potato levy, the vote will take place from mid-February 2021 for four weeks.

The AHDB said that the voting period would open after the separate ballot being undertaken in the horticultural sector had closed in order to avoid any confusion.

And yesterday the board urged growers to make their ‘one man, one vote’ count - and encouraged levy-payers eligible to vote to tune into the “town hall” meetings being organised on-line to discuss the relevant issues and the new, more grower-centric strategy which the board hopes to introduce.

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“We are in no way underestimating the huge variation in sentiment towards AHDB but we also want our levy payers to make an informed decision about our continued existence and what they would lose if the levy was stopped,” said the organisation’s chair, Nicholas Saphir.

“We would urge all potato growing and buying businesses to talk to us about our work and future plans through the town hall meetings or one-to-one with their regional knowledge exchange manager.”

The ballot will be run by UK Engage, an independent company – however, as the board is an ‘executive non-departmental public body’ once complete, the results of the ballot will be submitted to the farming Ministers in England, Wales and Scotland, who will then decide on the future of the statutory potato levy.