AHDB plans revitalisation in response to intervention accusations
Published:  01 September, 2015

AHDB Beef & Lamb has responded to concerns over government intervention in marketing campaigns raised by the resignation of chairman Stuart Roberts. 

In a statement, it said: “As an AHDB Board, we firmly believe that market development has a vital role to play in helping our farming and horticulture industries be competitive and sustainable.

“We are acutely aware of levy payer concerns around government approvals for this year’s marketing and promotional campaigns and we are fully committed to getting sign-off for current marketing activities outlined in the AHDB Corporate Plan.

“The government’s criteria challenge us to be clear on how our marketing and promotional activity provides value for money and real outcomes for levy payers. As a Board we welcome that challenge. Our CEO Jane King and her senior team have been working hard over recent weeks to put in place the robust evaluation of our campaigns to meet the criteria, achieve sign-off and deliver the marketing activity.”

According to other AHDB board members, Defra had delayed signing off on a marketing campaign for lamb, leading to missed TV spots and losing retailer support.

AHDB said: “This sign-off process has not been straightforward and has included a change of government. Jane King has met with both Defra and the Cabinet Office and discussions are still ongoing.

“In June, our sector board members met to discuss what success for the industry might look like, and potential priorities for AHDB. This autumn and winter we will be discussing these points with stakeholders and levy payers to help focus our activity moving forward.”

It appealed for stakeholders to give their view on the situation and announced plans to grow a market development team to examine opportunities in the market. “We would strongly encourage everyone to take part in this review to make their views known. This will ensure AHDB has a clear picture from farmers, growers and the supply chains across all sectors.

“As part of our revitalisation of the AHDB, we are building a market development team, led by our former beef and lamb sector director Nick Allen, to focus on the opportunities in domestic and overseas markets for all the sectors we work for. This team will work very closely with our sector boards and sector strategy directors to ensure we make progress for all levy payers.

“We also hope to be able to announce an interim chair for our Beef & Lamb Sector Board very soon, and look forward to working with them on delivering for levy payers.”