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Winds of change in the offing? Ballot on the future of potato levy confirmed by AHDB

AHDB has today formally announced a ballot on the continuation of the statutory potato levy will go ahead in the New Year. The British industry body says in a news release that the yes or no vote on the future of AHDB Potatoes and the work it delivers on behalf of GB potatoes growers and buyers will take place from mid-February 2021 for four weeks.

The confirmation comes after 8.5 per cent of potatoes levy payers, or 176 potato growing or buying businesses, submitted valid requests for a ballot. Under statute, five per cent of levy payers are needed to request a ballot for it to proceed.

The voting period will open in mid-February after a separate ballot on the statutory levy for horticulture has closed, to avoid confusion.

AHDB says it will contact potato growers and buyers in the coming weeks to ensure they are aware of the ballot. Each potato growing or buying business who has paid levy in the 12 months up to the ballot closing is entitled to one vote.

AHDB is encouraging all potatoes levy payers to make their vote count and is holding a series of virtual ‘town hall’ meetings in January and February 2021 to help them make an informed decision, based on AHDB’s delivery record and its new strategy for the potatoes sector. They are also encouraged to explore a new area of the AHDB website to find out what they get for their levy, at ahdb.org.uk/potato-levy.

AHDB Chair Nicholas Saphir said: “We are in no way underestimating the huge variation in sentiment towards AHDB but we also want our levy payers to make an informed decision about our continued existence and what they would lose if the levy was stopped.

“We would urge all potato growing and buying businesses to talk to us about our work and future plans through the town hall meetings or one-to-one with their regional knowledge exchange manager.”

The ballot will be run by an independent company called UK Engage. Once complete, the results of the ballot will be submitted to the farming Ministers in England, Wales and Scotland, who will decide on the future of the statutory potato levy.

For contact details of regional knowledge exchange managers and other AHDB potatoes specialists, visit ahdb.org.uk/meet-the-team-potatoes

Source: AHDB

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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