Vote promised on farm levies

Defra has confirmed that AHDB Potatoes will be fully wound down, respecting last year’s ballot of growers.

And it promised that moves would be introduced to make the organisation’s remaining sectors more accountable by giving producers a vote on how their levies are spent.

Commenting on the announcement, NFU Scotland said the move came as no surprise, stating that it was working with seed potato grower members to set up a new body which would provide value for money activities while working to develop and support the sector.

The union also welcomed the fact that AHDB Horticulture would continue its valuable pesticide authorisation work, and the proposals to make the organisation more accountable.

“This will ensure the vote requirement will genuinely drive industry development activities. AHDB must be accountable to the levy payers who fund it, and this vote should be the mechanism that provides this accountability,” said Policy Managers David Michie and Stuart Martin.

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Reminding those in the cropping and dairy sectors to register for their vote before the end of March, they added:

“The Shape The Future consultation exercise will look at how the levy is invested. It will ensure that the Sector Councils at AHDB can be confident that they have the best evidence of what levy payers want when it comes to making the decisions of what to invest the levy on.

They said that the union valued the services provided by AHDB - but believed that it was going through a “transitional period” which should see the organisation reconnect with the primary producers to deliver excellence across the relevant sectors.

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