Hayley Campbell-Gibbons

Chair of AHDB Horticulture Hayley Campbell-Gibbons

Growers are being urged to join a series of open discussions about the future of horticulture at AHDB in December.

AHDB said the online ‘town hall’ events, will give growers a chance to have their say on itscommitments for changeand its new five-year strategy, which goes out for feedback in the week commencing 7 December.

Delegates will also be able to find out about ongoing and planned activity for their crop sector, as well having the opportunity to talk to AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir, horticulture chair Hayley Campbell-Gibbons, and the horticulture team.

The events come ahead ofa pivotal ballotin January 2021on the continuation of a statutory levy in horticulture, and therefore the future existence of AHDB Horticulture.

Bringing industry together by sector, the first wave of online events starts with Fruit on 14 December, then Field Vegetables on 15 December, Protected Edibles and Mushrooms on 16 December and Ornamentals on 17 December.

All the events will run from 1:30pm to 2:30pm and will take place on Hopin, a platform which allows users to chat and submit questions online, send direct messages to speakers and other delegates, or request to speak on screen.

There will be two short presentations by AHDB, with the majority of the time allotted for open discussion from the floor.

Horticulture chair Hayley Campbell-Gibbons said: “These events give growers the chance to engage with us directly, help shape our strategy for the next five years and express their views on AHDB’s change commitments.

“We are open to all suggestions and feedback onhow we invest the levyon behalf of all our crop sectors. We also hope growers will come away with a better understanding of the value AHDB adds to individual businesses and the industry so they can make an informed decision when they are called upon to vote in January’s statutory levy ballot.”

However, flower grower Simon Redden, one of the three petitioners pushing for the abolition of the statutory levy, said:“AHDB’s belated attempt to justify itself is too little, too late and largely irrelevant.

He added: “It is clear that growers feel the world has moved on in the last 25 years and that statutory-funded group R&D is an outdated concept with no place in today’s competitive commercial world. To seek to replace the AHDB with anything of a similar nature is destined to fail.”

To register for the events, visitahdb.org.uk/horticulture-town-hall.