Unclear role for an AHDB with no marketing function

Intelligent and informative marketing to explain the benefits of red meat is absolutely essential if producers are to grow or even just maintain their domestic customer base, according to the NPA’s chairman, Richard Lister.

“If the AHDB can’t achieve this on behalf of levy-payers because of Government interference, then it’s hard to see what its role will be going forwards,” he said, in response to AHDB Beef and Lamb chairman Stuart Roberts’ resignation, alleging Government interference.

“The NPA finds it profoundly disturbing that levy-payers were promised, when AHDB centralised, that the sector boards would continue to set policy for their own sectors, and this red line now appears to have been obliterated by Defra,” Mr Lister (pictured above, centre) added.

“We know how difficult it was to get our own Pulled Pork campaign approved by Defra. If the Government and AHDB doesn’t resolve this issue over marketing, it will make a mockery of the Cameron administration’s plans to expand output of British food. There’s no point in us producing it, if we aren’t given the tools to market it with our own money.

“The AHDB can ill afford to lose people of Stuart Roberts’ calibre, and the NPA is deeply concerned he was placed in an untenable position by Defra and felt he had no option but to resign. He was a good friend of the pig sector, and we are going to miss his influence at AHDB.”

One of the reasons for Stuart Roberts’ resignation was alleged Government stonewalling over much-needed English beef and lamb advertising. He said he feared levy-payers’ money was in danger of becoming a “remote tax that the industry will have little or no influence over”.

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