AHDB says farmers must improve their competitiveness

Lifting agriculture’s productivity and sharpening its competitiveness are the major aims of a new three-year strategy launched on Thursday (1 December) by AHDB.

The strategy has been drawn up to help the sector prepare for the post-Brexit era, when farmers will be more exposed to global challenges.

A central plank is the creation of a “farm excellence” platform, designed to improve knowledge exchange between stakeholders.

See also: Why UK farming must up its game

AHDB’s four strategic priorities

  • Inspiring British farming and growing to be more competitive and resilient
  • Accelerating innovation and productivity growth through co-ordinated research and developement and knowledge exchange
  • Helping the industry understand and deliver what consumers will trust and buy
  • Delivering thought leadership and horizon scanning.

This will involve expanding the network of monitor farms, focus farms and strategic potato farms across the country.

AHDB will also improve its use of research funding, by working more closely with Agri-Tech Centres and UK research councils.

Blended approach

According to chief executive Jane King, the aim is to deliver a blend of research, knowledge exchange, skills development, market development and economic analysis across all six levy-paying sectors.

“To become world-class, farmers and growers need to become more productive – not just in terms of the crops grown and livestock reared, but in the way inputs such as fuel, water and labour are used,” she said.

“There is a need to knit together the industry’s fragmented knowledge exchange landscape to deliver innovation and best practice. AHDB can be the lynchpin for this.”

Helping businesses respond to consumer trends is another key element of the new AHDB strategy, with proposals to make consumer insight work more accessible to farmers and growers, and a focus on export work.

“We will also be looking to build on our international benchmarking and data-collection work,” said Ms King.

The strategy is out for farmer, grower and industry consultation until 9 January 2017.

AHDB has no proposals to increase current levy rates.

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