AHDB targets export opportunities in five year strategy

AHDB targets export opportunities in five year strategy

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has proposed its new five year strategy for 2021-2026, which includes an ambition to boost exports to Japan, China and the US.

Change will focus on significantly improving levy payers’ engagement and say on AHDB priorities for their sector and crop, including how much levy is collected and where it is spent.

The strategy also highlights three important areas – evidence and data, farm performance and marketing and exports.

In exports, AHDB says it aims to improve its activity in opening up new export markets for British produce in countries such as Japan, China, the US and the Middle East. The levy body adds that it will also continue building opportunities in existing markets after exiting the EU and will capitalise on new international trade deals.

“We fully recognise there are genuine differences between challenges facing sectors, crops and species and that one size of offering does not fit all.”

AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir said the strategy and change programme demonstrated AHDB was listening and looking to build on the ‘Five Commitments’ it made in the wake of the Government’s Request for Views published earlier this year.

He added: “I see the future as a period of real opportunity for British farming and growing.  Our change programme and new strategic focus will provide the basis for AHDB to work together with levy payers in shaping our collective future and making the most of what lies ahead.

“We have listened very carefully to levy payers’ concerns about delivering value for money in such challenging times, and ensuring our work programmes are fit for purpose.  We fully recognise there are genuine differences between challenges facing sectors, crops and species and that one size of offering does not fit all.  Levies in the future must be set to reflect the value provided and work priorities clearly agreed with levy payers.

“In addition, AHDB will review the current tools, services and products across all its sectors to see how they are being used by farmers and growers. We will keep listening to levy payers with open Board meetings, new levy payer user groups and developing interaction both in person and online.”

A commitment to a ballot every five years on the future of the levy is also included, in order to ensure levy payers have a greater say in designing AHDB work programmes and priorities.

Norman Bagley, head of policy for the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS), commented: “We agree with AHDB Chair, Nicholas Saphir’s view of ‘the future as a period of opportunity’.

“The launch of the AHDB strategy along with their agenda for change is timely and with AIMS role of representing the largest number of red meat levy-paying processors we look forward to playing our part in its delivery.

“The plan mentions the importance of the supply chain throughout which, along with the  emphasis on transparency, levy payer engagement and the delivery of marketing and export knowledge is welcome as our members look to grow their businesses domestically and across the globe.”

The full AHDB strategy and proposed sector plans are published for consultation and can be found online at ahdb.org.uk/strategy. The closing date for feedback is 31 January 2021.

Photograph: AHDB chair, Nicholas Saphir.

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