A vision for the future of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has been outlined by Food and Farming Minister George Eustice and the new AHDB chairman Peter Kendall.
In a speech to AHDB employees at the organisation’s Stoneleigh Park offices on Monday (April 28), Mr Eustice said it was vitally important that Government and the AHDB concentrated on addressing the future needs of levy payers.
“I have been encouraged by the way AHDB is becoming a more focused and efficient organisation,” he added. “There’s an important question about whether AHDB should be more of a single entity rather than operating as six separate sectors and I’m pleased that the board has already started to look at this.
“AHDB is an organisation with a recognised wealth of expertise in so many areas – exports, knowledge transfer, R&D. Let’s get the message out there that this expertise is working hard for the levy payer and making a real difference.”
Peter Kendall said one of the biggest global challenges currently was food security.
“Knowing this, UK farmers need to be growing more,” he added. “Instead, we’re growing less and importing more. I want AHDB to help to reverse this.”
He said his vision for AHDB was for it to be right at the heart of “growing British agriculture” by:
- developing world beating technology;
- increasing the uptake of technology and innovation on farms;
- providing the best and most up to date market intelligence;
- growing our exports;
- attracting and up-skilling producers and their staff.
“We’ve got a great story to tell, great examples of our levy-payers levy in action – and as long as we aim high, there’s a lot more to come,” he added.
“For example, in the dairy sector, analysis by our internal market intelligence team shows if we could get the middle third of producers performance up to the level of the top third, and the bottom third up to the middle third, it would add £450 million to output!
“And innovation in the soft fruit sector has meant that home-grown strawberries hit our shelves in the first week of March this year. Adopting new technologies has seen an 150% increase in the area used for soft fruit under glass and plastic in less than 15 years.”