Nicholas Saphire

Nicholas Saphir

AHDB has formally confirmed there will be a ballot on the continuation of a statutory levy in horticulture.

The announcement, which was made by AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir at FPJ Live on 6 October,follows confirmation that AHDB had received valid requests for a ballot from more than five per cent of horticulture levy payers.

It will be a yes or no vote on the future existence of AHDB Horticulture and the work it delivers on behalf of growers.

AHDB said it will now procure the services of an independent company to administer the vote process, adding that this will take a number of weeks and it envisages the voting process will begin in January. Every levy payer will be invited and encouraged to vote in the ballot.

Once the ballot has concluded, AHDB will publish the results on its website and inform ministers, who will then make a decision on the future of the levy, taking into account various factors, including voter turnout. Ministers are not bound by the result of the ballot.

Saphir said: “We welcome the opportunity for an open debate on the important role of AHDB and how it is the funding backbone of horticultural applied research and development to address crop protection, labour, resource use, and technical innovation.”

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