Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

November 2021


By Company News, Industry News

25th November 2021


Defra consultation on the future of AHDB

Defra has issued a further consultation covering several important issues for the horticultural sector. It is critical Defra gets a complete industry picture, so the purpose of this note is to encourage you to complete the online survey. There are 13 questions to complete the section on horticulture and 9 of these are your ‘name and address’ type questions.

The consultation opened on 17th November and closes on 10th Jan 2022.


What are you being asked?

There are three areas of critical interest:

  1. Should the AHDB Order be amended to remove the statutory levy in the horticulture sector in Great Britain?

The results of the recent ballot of horticulture levy payers showed a significant majority are no longer satisfied that the AHDB’s services are providing value for money and have signalled overall they do not want the levy to continue. 61% of levy payers that voted in the horticulture sector ballot voted “no” to the continuation of the statutory levy in their respective sectors.

To respect the overall outcome of the recent ballots Defra is proposing to amend the AHDB Order to remove the duty on the AHDB to impose a statutory levy on the horticulture sector. This will end the statutory levies in their current form from the beginning of next financial year.

In the accompanying text Defra says…

It is open to exploring industry led proposals from any parts of the horticulture sector, or from any other agricultural industries, who may see value in working with the AHDB through a statutory levy mechanism in the future.

Furthermore, any group of growers can agree to pay a voluntary levy to fund research or other activities at any time. This could be done by the industry working with the AHDB or by working with other organisations or by establishing an alternative governance structure for organising, collecting, and delivering a voluntary levy programme.

No to public funding for R&D

Defra is making it clear that ….

Public sector funding will not pay for research or other actions that were, or could reasonably be expected to be, funded through levy investment.

And goes on to suggest ….

Growers may need to coalesce to provide leadership and formulate new industry led funding models that are better suited to their needs and will enable cross industry collaboration for the delivery of priority research, development, and other activities to support their businesses in future.


  1. Do you want the AHDB’s application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain to continue (EA/EAMU application service)?

About 70% of EAs and EAMUs are secured by the AHDB. Annually they submit between 80 and 100 applications to the HSE (CRD) for EAs and EAMUs and Defra expect this number to rise in the next few years, due to the decline in the availability of active substances.

In the short term during 2021/22 and 2022/23 some limited specific AHDB activities will continue in the horticulture on a transitional basis. AHDB will continue to deliver applications for Emergency Authorisations (EAs) and Extensions of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMUs) of pesticides in the horticulture sector in Great Britain (funded through reserves).


  1. If you want the AHDB’s application service for emergency authorisations and extension of authorisation for minor use of pesticides for the horticulture sector in Great Britain to continue do you have views and suggestions on how it should be funded?

Providing continuity for the AHDB’s EA/EAMU application service is for seen by many as very important to their business. So, Defra is exploring options for a longer-term funding solution for a continued AHDB EA/EAMU application service from 2023/24 and are interested in industry views on this point.

The remainder of the consultation

The remaining section of the consultation covers

  • A regular vote for levy payers
  • Extending the scope of the AHDB Order
  • Increasing the headroom for levy rates in the English sheep sector; and
  • Future reforms to the AHDB Order


Taking part in the consultation

Here is the link to the Defra consultation and the closing date is 10th January 2022.


Jack Ward

CEO, British Growers

November 2021.

AHDB sends grower levy payers final demand with £10.6m wind down costs identified

By Industry News

AHDB sends grower levy payers final demand with £10.6m wind down costs identified

9 November 2021, by Matthew Appleby

AHDB has written to levy payers, who voted to end paying the levy in February 2021 with a 2021 levy invoice/estimated invoice.

AHDB said: “We expect this to be the final year of the statutory AHDB horticulture levy, subject to a decision by ministers.  It has been calculated on a reduced levy rate of 0.27% on your adjusted sales figure (down from 0.45% last year).

“Following the ballot of horticulture levy payers earlier this year the AHDB Board has been in communication with government ministers and has taken the decision to completely wind-down our statutory levy-funded horticulture operations. We understand that government will launch an industry consultation later this year [mid-November] on proposed changes to the legislation that governs AHDB and on future options.

“The levy funds collected in this year, together with sector reserves, will be used to cover the costs of winding- down all levy-payer activity in the horticulture sector: to see out existing contractual liabilities including research programmes, so the value of levy already invested is not lost (£7.4 million) to cover the costs of lease commitments and staff redundancies (£1.4 million) at Defra’s request to fund a transitional EAMU/emergency authorisation service in 2022/23, so benefits are not lost for the industry and to enable time for the service to potentially be transferred to a third party (£1.8 million).

“For AHDB Horticulture it will cost in total around £10.6 million to meet all the liabilities through the planned transition of activities and the wind-down process. AHDB Horticulture reserves at 31 March 2021 were £6.05 million (subject to audit). The reduced 2021/22 levy rate is expected to raise £4.55 million.

“AHDB will remain legally required to pursue all overdue levy payments and any debtor that refuses to pay will be pursued through the legal process.   Any excess funds at the end of the wind-down process will be held for a period of up to 6-years to fund any residual horticulture liabilities which may arise. After this period the utilisation of any funds remaining would be discussed with the industry and government.”

AHDB Horticulture Board chair Hayley Campbel-Gibbons also wrote to growers to say: “My term on the board of AHDB, and role as chairwoman of the AHDB horticulture board ended on 31st October. Much has changed since I joined the organisation three year’s ago, not least the landmark vote to end the AHDB horticulture and potatoes levies.

“It has not been an easy task to wind-down our activities, in part because of the time it is taking Defra to issue the consultation on the future, but also because the process is involving making the vast majority of our valued team of people redundant. All of whom have shown true professionalism and resilience during a very difficult time.

“I respect the ballot outcome of course, and recognise the wind-down as a necessary course of action. At the same time, I wish those growers who do want to see continued investment in research in their sector the very best in their efforts to find a way forward on collaborative funding.”

She said the final bill to settle the balance on AHDB Horticulture’s accounts and activities includes continuing the EAMU programme for a further year (2022/23), at Defra’s request, and also ensures that any research work we had already started is completed. It also covers the cost of staff redundancies, and horticulture’s central cost contribution.

“On governance, the horticulture board has a newly revised and slimmed down terms of reference, which is to provide oversight of the wind-down process. All meetings will be held virtually, and the board will be chaired on an interim basis by Peter Judge, who sits on the board currently, and will attend the main AHDB board as an observer. This arrangement will be reviewed in March 2022, when the current levy period ends.

“Recognising the need to provide oversight of the remaining research projects (51 in total currently which will reduce to 28 running in 2022/23, 11 in 2023/24 and 3 in 2024/25), the most efficient way for us to achieve this will be agreed with the panels and sector board over the coming weeks.

“As part of the wind-down plan and budget, AHDB will be creating a legacy website to ensure that all of the past and future work funded by growers will be available to view online.

“All that remains for me to say is thank you to all of the growers and staff who have supported me in my role at AHDB; in particular, my fellow board members past and present, those growers who got involved in our efforts to reform the levy, the panel members who have given so much of their time and effort to our research, our strategic centres and those who have attended our many trials and events. A special thank you to the whole horticulture team at AHDB.”

LSA CT Fellowship Scheme 2022 deadline extension

By Company News, Industry News

The LSA Fellowship scheme has extended its application deadline to the 10th November 2021.


With the additional few days to apply we are running through the top reasons for you to apply:

  • 2-year Fellowship scheme
  • £3,000 bursary to cover your expenses
  • Increase your industry understanding: from Herbs to Hardy Nursery Stock production, R&D to marketing
  • Connect with key representatives and leaders from across the industry
  • Be part of a group of a small Fellowship group: developing a close network with your peers
  • Attend an oversees study tour

“The Fellowship provides an excellent opportunity for up-and-coming executives in the horticulture industry to widen their perspective, create a network and equip themselves for a future role in leadership of the industry. These are exciting and challenging times for horticulture, and the LSA Fellows will be vital in shaping our sector for the future.”  Commented Coral Clark Managing agent for the Scheme.

Lucille Gilpin, Horticultural Technologist at DAERA and started the scheme in 2019, she encourages others to apply for the scheme:

“Applying to the LSA Fellowship was a no-brainer – between invitations to high quality events and meeting likeminded horticulture young people, I am glad I did apply.

Even throughout COVID we have had a busy schedule, meeting and discussing with central industry people online. Pre-COVID, my favourite event was at SmartHort, I gained a lot of knowledge from this event to bring back to my workplace.

Since being on the scheme, I am a lot more confident to discuss industry issues in my workplace with also further confidence to talk to other growers about the latest technologies.

For new applicants, I would thoroughly advise to join our group, I have learnt a lot and will continue to do so along with the horticulture friends I have made.”

The Fellowship aims to develop the future leaders of the commercial horticulture industry and is being supported by the National Farmers Union, British Growers Association, The Horticultural Trades Association, the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board.

To apply for the scheme please visit: The deadline for applications is the 10th November 2021.

For more information on the scheme please visit the website or contact Coral Clark at British Growers on , or call: 01507 602427.