The short-term transition of financing of producer organizations by Defra brings welcome relief to producers. It also prevents a funding gap that could have had a significant impact on horticultural businesses, said Ali Capper, chairman of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) horticulture and potato board of directors.
Capper: “I am incredibly happy that Defra has listened to our concerns and granted a short-term transition to growers that ensures there is no funding gap while a new UK horticultural productivity program is developed. Producer organizations are extremely valuable to the UK horticultural sector, selling over 50% of all UK fruit and vegetables, while stimulating cooperation, productivity improvements and technological developments. It is essential that producer organizations have sufficient clarity on the structure of new support mechanisms before the end of programs, so that they have time to make the necessary preparations.
The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) announced in May that it was halting “significant activities” on behalf of the horticulture and potato sectors. Pending a decision on the future of ministers from England, Scotland and Wales, the AHDB wants to reassure taxpayers that their point of view has been heard following recent polls in both sectors .
As reported on agriland.fr, the AHDB is now shutting down a program that could be relaunched in the future by producer associations, individual producers or the supply chain. This work includes, for example, access to export markets and promotional work on international trade events, consumer marketing campaigns and pricing and market information.