News
20th Apr

2020

TFA Media Release – MR20/19 – AHDB Requires a Significant Shakeup to Be Fit for Purpose

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has welcomed the publication of the Government’s response to the request for views on the operation of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and urges the Government to press ahead with its programme of reform.

TFA National Chairman, Mark Coulman, said “AHDB has the capacity to be a tremendous force for good for UK agriculture.  However, it is massively inhibited by poor governance, a lack of understanding of its priorities and a deficiency in its accountability to levy payers.  Now, more than ever, we need AHDB to be an effective driver of the development of our domestic food and farming industry.”

The TFA advocates that the number one priority for AHDB should be market development.  It needs to be the champion of UK agriculture both at home and abroad.

“AHDB should be at the leading edge rather than the trailing edge of the industry.  Much of its work is wrongly targeted on knowledge exchange and standardised business information to the farming industry.  Instead it should be driving the industry forward in seeking out new markets and improving farm returns from the markets which exist already,” said Mr Coulman.

The TFA has also been critical of the slow response made by AHDB to the impact of the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions on the farming industry.

“With the loss of food service and the hospitality sector as a result of the Government’s restrictions, retail demand soared as supermarkets were suddenly handed the monopoly on getting food to consumers.  However, whilst consumers faced restrictions on how much they could buy whilst looking at empty shelves, many farmers have been forced to tip milk down the drain and see prices for their livestock plummet.  It took nearly two weeks for AHDB to respond to this catastrophic change in circumstances, when it should have been its number one priority from day one to seek out ways to rebalance the supply chain.  We welcome the work that it is now doing in this space, but it should have started much earlier,” said Mr Coulman.

-Ends-

Ref: MR 20/19

Date: 20 April 2020

Notes for Editors:
For media enquiries, contact Julia Meadows, TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator, on 0118 930 6130 or 07887 777157.

 

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