The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has issued its final Horticulture Update email for March 2023 as it completes the wind-down of its horticultural activities.
Writing in the email, the organisation which recently moved all its historical horticultural and potato reports to a special archive website, paid tribute ‘to the many excellent colleagues who have worked hard to deliver a fantastic range of levy-funded technical outputs over many years – from those at AHDB to HDC before it.’
“We are also grateful to the numerous knowledgeable and passionate industry representatives, panel members and contractors who have helped to deliver and steer the work we are all rightly proud of,” the organisation added. It also thanked ‘the many growers and agronomists who took our technical results and embedded them into their day-to-day practice.’
According to the email, 97% of horticultural (including mushrooms) levy payers have now paid, settling 96% of the ‘overall debt’ from 2020-21, with approximately £268,000 of debt outstanding from 2021 and earlier years.
Separately, AHDB confirmed it had achieved its target of reducing operational costs by £7.8m by the end of the 2022/23 financial year.
As part of its commitment to reducing bureaucracy and costs over a two-year period, outlined in the Change Programme for 2021 to 2026, a total saving of £8.5m has been made, including non-pay related savings target of £300,000, through the reduction in governance costs related to the Horticulture and Potatoes sectors, as well as the closure of a satellite office and taking into account the investment in new roles.
AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir said, “I am pleased to confirm we have exceeded the savings target we set ourselves. This shows we are determined to build a leaner, more efficient organisation that delivers effectively and offers better value for money for levy payers.”