The NFU has called for a ‘bold’ transformation of AHDB as part of the wide-ranging review launched by Government last August.
The union’s president, Minette Batters, set out her vision for the future of the board at a Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum event in London last week (March 14).
Though she praised AHDB’s work, saying ‘each and every person there is doing a brilliant job’, she made clear she wanted to see big changes to help the industry become ‘leaner and fitter’ after Brexit.
“We have been very bold in what we think the review should look like,” she said.
“We think it should be completely transformative. We believe [the board] should have two platforms – one around business development; resilience; productivity; advice and research and development, and the other around market development and brand, focusing on our markets at home and abroad, so two different governance structures.
“I would say this would be very similar to what is going on in the Republic of Ireland with Bord Bia, and also quite similar to the SRUC work in Scotland, where farmers are searching for more advice.
“We do not have this in England and we absolutely have to change that.”
The consultation on AHDB’s future was open for 10 weeks until November 2018, and received about 900 responses.
It sought views on whether to abolish statutory levies and the point in the supply chain at which the levy should be collected.
The Government had planned to publish a summary of the responses ‘early’ this year, but this work has now been delayed as a result of Brexit planning.