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AHDB agrees to transfer surplus levy funds to new horticultural body

AHDB has agreed to transfer surplus levy funds to Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd (HCP), which was established after a majority of growers voted to end the statutory levy.

The AHDB Board said it had agreed in principle for the transfer of up to £1 million to the new horticultural company, set up after growers agreed to abolish AHDB's statutory levy.

The levy organisation said it had acted to support the industry and Defra in securing the long-term support for 'essential' Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) and Emergency Approvals (EA) work for the sector.

It is envisaged the funding will bring a degree of certainty and enables important ongoing work to continue as the new organisation develops its operation.

Discussions are still taking place between the parties on the exact details of the arrangements, but industry associations have signalled their support of a new voluntary subscription model as proposed by HCP.

The move is considered a natural follow-on from the work previously undertaken by AHDB Horticulture.

A spokesperson for AHDB said: "It is anticipated the sum involved is up to £1m which will be made over by way of a grant over a period of time. The transfer of these levy monies is subject to Defra approval.

"During the period of transition from the existing system to the new organisation, the team at AHDB are managing the pipeline of work on EAs and EAMUs to give the new organisation the greatest chance of success."

Last year, potato growers also voted to end AHDB's statutory levy, and some proposals have been submitted to the AHDB Board for small grants for important work to continue.

"The move away from the levy body to a new era has some way to go in this sector," AHDB's spokesperson explained.

"The AHDB board have noted that 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 AHDB board felt that a public demonstration of support on a scale achieved in horticulture would allow progress on grant schemes."


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