Brexit preparations delay government AHDB review

A government review into the future of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has been delayed because of Brexit.

Defra held a 10-week consultation in late 2018, asking for views on the organisation’s purpose and priorities and whether farmers support the continuation of statutory levies.

The consultation closed on 9 November, with the government promising it would issue a summary of responses in early 2019.

See also: Farmers’ views sought on the AHDB ahead of Brexit

But in a statement published on Friday (1 February), Defra said there would be a delay in getting this information into the public domain.

Timing moved

“Due to Defra resources being focused on ensuring our policies and our industries are ready for a deal or a no-deal scenario with EU exit, this timing has been moved back.

“We will resume the analysis of responses and will prepare a summary for publication as soon as possible.

“Key stakeholder organisations will be kept updated, and we will publish an updated timeframe in due course.”

900 responses

More than 900 people have responded to the consultation, which asked questions about which of AHDB’s services are most valued and whether any of its activities should be stopped.

Tom Hind, AHDB chief strategy officer, said: “We know many stakeholders are keen to see the outcome of the government’s request for views on AHDB.

“However, we can appreciate the overriding need to prepare for Brexit.

“In the meantime we will continue to engage closely with key stakeholders to identify the key priorities for our industry and what we can do to support our farmers, growers and industry in addressing them.”

AHDB raises about £60m per year in statutory levies from farmers and another £10m a year in the form of non-levy income.

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