Wind-down and transition of all AHDB Horticulture and AHDB Potatoes activity and levies for 2021/22 period

On this page, you'll find information on wind-down and transition of all AHDB Horticulture and AHDB Potatoes activity.

Responses to questions asked by levy payers

Ministers were clear there would need to be a final 2021/22 levy.

AHDB must fund operational liabilities associated with the wind-down of contracts, people and assets and levy payers have a responsibility to cover the costs of winding up levy supported activities. This means a levy is needed in 2021/22 to supplement horticulture and potato sector reserves to cover these costs, and the statutory levy in the horticulture and potato sectors remained in place as a legal requirement for the financial year 2021/22.

We recognise the outcome of the ballots and the end to the statutory horticulture and potato levies has been confirmed by Ministers in their analysis report on the industry consultation and what they will do next to put in place changes to the legislation that governs AHDB.

2020/21 has been confirmed as the last year of the existing statutory levies in the report published by Defra and the Devolved Administrations on 8 March 2022.

At 15/07/22:-

In Horticulture (including Mushroom) 84% of levy payers have already paid with 75% of the overall 2021 (2020-2021) debt settled. 

In Potatoes (Grower and Buyer) 77% of levy payers have already paid with 71% of the overall 2021 debt settled. 

Overall debt (2021 and prior years) outstanding in Horticulture is £1.5 million approx.

Overall debt (2021 and prior years) outstanding in Potatoes is £2.0 million approx.

We have published a separate answer below in relation to failure to make a payment. Any queries relating to payment or our estimate process should be directed to levy@ahdb.org.uk.

We considered a number of approaches and where industry organisations have shown interest in taking on products, tools or services then staff expertise have also featured in those discussions, when appropriate.

For AHDB Horticulture it was estimated to cost c. £10.6M to meet all the liabilities through the planned transition of activities and the wind-down process. AHDB horticulture reserves at 31 March 2021 were £6.05M. The reduced 2021/22 levy rate is expected to raise £4.55M.

For AHDB Potatoes it was estimated to cost c. £7.4M to meet all the liabilities through the planned transition of activities and the wind-down process. However, AHDB potato reserves at 31 March 2021 were only £1.2M. These reserves are relatively low because over the last three years the sector has run an annual deficit, thereby reducing its reserves.

AHDB sector reserve levels were never set to fund a sector specific wind-down situation. The 2021/22 potato levy rate is expected to raise £5.6M.

AHDB Horticulture has historically sub divided the horticulture levy income between six main crop groupings, each represented by a sector panel. The allocation of budget to each panel has been in proportion to the income generated by each crop sector using optional data provided by most growers in the levy returns. This has given capacity to deliver research, knowledge exchange, EAMUs and crop protection regulatory work across the varied needs of a diverse sector.

Horticulture’s share of cross AHDB costs, such as leasing office space and the redundancies associated with restructuring have been broken down using the same principles. These principles also apply to the central staff costs for collecting levy etc.  

For technical work - such as the EAMUs and Emergency Authorisations workstream, including the underpinning data collection through residue and efficacy trials as well as budget committed to completing contracted research - costs are allocated for each project at a panel level.

Panels and the Horticulture Board have been provided with full breakdown of costs to panel level.

2D bar chart of wind down breakdown

Related Content

Over the last few weeks, we have received a number of enquiries relating to EAMU programme costs, as external organisations start to explore what a future programme might look like and how it might be administered.

Please visit the section below for more information. 

Should you require anything further about how this service is provided, please feel free to contact the team at EAMU@ahdb.org.uk.

For full detail on the costigs associated with the EAMU programme and service, Download Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) programme costings – 2022/23.

When AHDB was set up and BPC operations moved from Oxford to Stoneleigh, there were a number of exceptional reorganisation costs involved which were funded through those reserves. All of the AHDB Annual Report and Accounts (ARA) are available. 

In the 2008/09 ARA, you will see an opening reserve of £4.16M for the Potato sector, which reduced to £1.36M at 31 March 2010 (as stated in the 2009/10 ARA Annual Report and Accounts). Subsequently the Potato sector has run board-approved deficits in some years, spending the reserves money on research, Knowledge Exchange, Marketing and Market Intelligence work to benefit potato growers. 

Previous AHDB boards took a view that farmers would not want more reserves than necessary to operate cash-flow and a small contingency reserve.

There are 17 non-storage research projects that ran throughout 2021/22 financial year (four of which extend into the following one or two financial years) along with Strategic Potato (Spot) Farms final liabilities, and our Market Intelligence products that ran until June 2021. A few smaller contract commitments were included where we are part of cross sector arrangements (e.g. paying for a share of the contract with British Nutrition Foundation for the schools education programme). Expenditure was £2.5m and staff costs were £1.5m which brings the total to £4M.

Storage projects don’t profile precisely against the financial year with crops in store as late as Aug 2021 and project data processing/reporting taking place in December 2021. We've included expenditure of £0.1M against six projects which when added to staff costs of £0.5M brings the total to £0.6M.

Project titles are available here.

AHDB encourage all levy payers to act responsibly and pay the levy this year which is necessary to cover the wind-down costs of the activities in these sectors. AHDB remains legally obliged to pursue all overdue levy payments and AHDB will use its powers to pursue levy debtors through the courts if necessary.

A contingency of funding will be held for a period of up to six years to fund any residual liabilities which may arise in the horticulture or potato sectors. After this period the utilisation of any funds remaining will be discussed with the industry and government.

If there are any significant amounts of horticulture or potato funds remaining, over and above the required contingency, at the end of the wind-down process, the more immediate utilisation of these will be discussed with the industry and government.

The legislation that governs AHDB, stipulates that the levy raised from an industry sector must be used for the benefit of that sector. This means that the levy money from AHDB's other sectors cannot be used to settle any horticulture or potato liabilities that come to light over the next few years. Therefore, AHDB needs to retain some contingency funds for this purpose. Six years is deemed an appropriate period in which any such liabilities will have been revealed and after this period the utilisation of any funds remaining will be discussed with the industry and government.

If however, there are any significant amounts of horticulture or potato funds remaining, over and above the required contingency, at the end of the wind-down process, the more immediate utilisation of these will be discussed with the industry and government.

Governance

  • The Potato Sector Board has had oversight of the potato activity wind-down process. Alison Levett remained as interim chair and has been attending relevant parts of the main AHDB board as an observer. This arrangement ceased at the end of March 2022, and members were thanked for their contributions in a closing meeting
  • The Horticulture Sector Board has oversight of the horticulture activity wind-down process. Peter Judge is the interim chair and attends relevant parts of the main AHDB board as an observer. This arrangement will continue until March 2023, recognising the need to provide oversight of the EAMU/EA work and the remaining horticulture research projects (28 running in 2022/23, 11 in 2023/24 and 3 in 2024/25)

Levy payer communications and future access to research reports and fact sheets

Communications to levy payers are limited to in-season EAMU notifications (through our monthly Horticulture Update), potato storage results and essential updates, such as emergency pest and disease communications. We will update financial projections for both sectors on this site later in 2022.

Contracts

The following research and knowledge exchange projects will be funded until the end of the contract.

Click on the links below for more information:

Horticulture

  • Data Collection and Applications to support EAMUs
  • Downy mildew control strategies
  • Vegetable propagation peat reduction grower demonstration trials
  • SCEPTREplus - Research for sustainable plant protection products for use in horticulture
  • Understanding disease development of Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus  (ToBRFV)
  • Development and implementation of season long control strategies for Drosophila suzukii in soft and tree fruit
  • Towards a better understanding of the biology and genetics of Phytophthora rubi and P. fragaria which causes devastating root rot disease in raspberries and strawberries
  • Integrated forecasting for diseases affecting multiple hosts exemplified by vegetable brassicas and oilseed rape
  • Non-chemical growth control of protected pot and bedding plants
  • The role of endophytes in affecting symptom development of European apple canker caused by Neonectria ditissima
  • Improved understanding and control of baterial blotch and green mould in mushroom production (Mushroom Disease)
  • SPECTRA: Whole plant spectral response models: Optimised greenhouse light environments, modelling whole plant reponses to spectral quality
  • Bioinspired vision systems for automated harvesting
  • Soil Biology & Soil Health Partnership
  • Developing diagnostic methodologies for pathogen detection in seed, and determining the importance of seed-borne inoculum in transmission of aerial oomycetes
  • Tomato: An investigation into poor pollination performance by the native bumblebee, Bombus terrestris audax
  • Onions: Investigation into the control of white rot in bulb and salad onion crops
  • Selection and improvement of insect pathogenic fungi for the control of multi-resistant aphids
  • Pest Bulletin
  • Soft Fruit Strategic Farm (WET Centre)
  • Plum Demonstration and Knowledge Exchange Orchard
  • HNS strategic centre
  • SmartHort labour efficiency modules
  • Carbon audits
  • Application and Management of Biopesticides for Efficacy and Reliability (AMBER)
  • Strategic Centre for Herbs & Leafy Salads
  • Reducing peat in transplanted leafy veg crops
  • Monitoring and Managing Insecticide Resistance in UK Pests
  • Asparagus: Sustainable soil management for stand longevity and yield optimisation in asparagus 
  • Using LAMP for non-invasive monitoring systems for Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV)
  • Horticulture Strategic Centres for Field Vegetables (Innovation Hub)
  • Herbs: determining the basis of variation in flavour
  • Improved management of bacterial diseases of horticultural crops
  • Developing nutrient management guidance in Protected Ornamentals, Bulbs and Outdoor Flowers
  • Peas: Surveillance virus diseases in UK pea crops
  • Carrots: Improved management of virus diseases
  • Role of auxin in Phytophthora root rot disease development in soft fruit
  • Diagnostic tests to assess Fusarium disease risk, select rotation crops and monitor microbial communities
  • Developing nutrient management guidance for Hardy Nursery Stock
  • Developing nutrient management guidance in Rhubarb crops
  • Improving integrated pest management in strawberry pests
  • The Pot and Bedding Plant Centre
  • Integrated decision support tools for management of downy mildew in onions
  • Understanding populations of the lettuce downy mildew pathogen Bremia lactucae to inform integrated disease management
  • Development of an integrated strategy for Bean Seed Fly control
  • Membership of the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club (EMSBC)
  • Growing media usage monitoring
  • Insecticide Resistance Management - new strategies
  • Lettuce: host resistance to fusarium wilt
  • CTP PhD Studentship Scheme
  • The National Cut Flower Centre Trials Programme
  • UK Raspberry Breeding Consortium (UKRBC)
  • GrowSave - an energy efficiency platform
  • Utilisation of single and multiple species cover crops for the suppression of soil borne nematodes of Narcissus
  • Soft Fruit CTP PhD Studentship Scheme funding, although projects won’t be completed until October 2025
  • All hard copy factsheets, publications and grower events which are not part of a contractual commitment

Potatoes

  • Investigation of the potential for precision soil and crop growth mapping to improve tuber size distribution at harvest.
  • CIPC mechanisms
  • Soil Biology & Soil Health
  • Blight population monitoring for management recommendations
  • Mineral oils for control of aphid-borne virus transmission
  • IPM: response to loss of actives for pest management
  • Integrated potato agronomy and storage
  • Metabolic markers to mechanism of growth suppression - understanding the molecular physiology of sprouting in potato
  • Low temperature storage of potato varieties
  • Integrated alternative sprout suppressants: Fresh
  • Integrated alternative sprout suppressants: Processing
  • Maleic Hydrazide Review
  • CIPC Contamination
  • Potato storage using spearmint oil
  • Growsave
  • Strategic Potato Farms
  • Aphid monitoring
  • Blight Spy
  • PhD Conference for Crops
  • Blight IPM - Fungicide Resistance Management
  • Potato variety database
  • Monitoring and managing insecticide resistance
  • Applications of machine learning to precision potato blackleg prediction
  • Cross sector - Insecticide resistance management
  • Metabolic markers to mechanism of growth suppression: understanding the molecular physiology of sprouting in potato

  • Education partnership with the British Nutrition Foundation
  • Safe Haven Assurance Scheme
  • Yield Enhancement Network
  • AgriLeader work
  • Farmbench data validation and group work
  • Nuffield sponsorship
  • On-farm carbon audits
  • All hard copy factsheets, publications and grower events which are not part of a contractual commitment
  • Consumer marketing campaigns
  • Grow Your Own Potatoes
  • Potato Europe trade show
  • Fruit Logistica trade show
  • Export missions and market access work
  • Area, yield and production estimates
  • Potatoes planting, lifting and crop condition survey
  • Global data provision
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