AHDB chief executive Tom Taylor

AHDB chief executive Tom Taylor

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has hit savings targets of more than £3.8 million, according to new figures released this week.

The levy company said it had become more sustainable and also claimed that better procurement of services alone brought in savings of £424,433 last year.

“Operational efficiencies continue to be achieved through improved systems and a stronger team-working culture, which has got all our experts in R&D and knowledge transfer, for example, working much closer together,” said AHDB chief executive Tom Taylor.

AHDB said its commitment to jointly working between the various agricultural sectors and external partners “has continued to foster innovation and grow market opportunities for its levy payers.”

Taylor explained that improved efficiencies saw the amount of income spent on support costs in the last year drop to 13p in every pound, from 15p last year.

AHDB was formed in 2008 from the merger of six previously independent levy boards: BPEX, DairyCo, EBLEX, HGCA, HDC and the Potato Council. The aim was to deliver greater levy payer value through sharing support costs.

Taylor praised the work AHDB’s divisional teams have carried out. He added: “This is facilitating much better sharing of best practice and ideas and a swifter identification of projects that carry benefits across two or more sectors, thereby spreading costs.”

In its report the AHDB also pinpointed its Water Framework Directive - designed to inform farms on how to deal with a lack of rainfall - and Greenhouse Gas Action Plan (GHGAP), which encourages agricultural workers to tackle climate change, as other highlights from 2011/2012.

In horticulture, the Horticulture Development Company launched its four-year, £660,000 investment in SCEPTRE, a project to identify new control products for a variety of crops.