AHDB agrees to transfer funds to new horticulture company
25th October 2022
Following the request of the horticulture industry, the AHDB board has agreed, in principle, to transfer surplus levy funds to Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd (HCP).
The sum involved is anticipated to be up to £1 million, which will be transferred in the form of a grant over a period of time.
The transfer of the levy monies is subject to Defra approval, but it’s envisaged that the funding will bring a degree of certainty and enable important ongoing work to continue as the new organisation develops its operation.
The move follows careful consideration of the implications and to ensure the ongoing essential work in connection with EAMU/EA services, AHDB said.
While discussions about the exact details are still ongoing between the parties, industry associations have wholly signalled their support of a new voluntary subscription model as proposed by HCP, and the move is considered a natural follow-on from the work previously undertaken by the levy board.
During the period of transition from the existing system to the new organisation, AHDB said its team is managing the pipeline of work on EAs and EAMUs to give the new organisation the greatest chance of success.
In the potato sector, some proposals have been submitted to the AHDB board for small grants for important work to continue in the absence of AHDB Potatoes taking the lead.
The AHDB board noted that a move away from the levy body to a new era has some way to go in this sector, particularly since any grant scheme would be contingent of finalising the sale of the Sutton Bridge research facility and collecting outstanding debt from potato for businesses for the 2021 growing season.
The board said it felt that a public demonstration of support on a scale achieved in horticulture would allow progress on grant schemes.