AHDB issues pledge to be 'a critical friend'

AHDB will be "a critical friend" to the industry as the levy body takes a more active role in shaping its direction, chief executive Jane King told the GrowQuip event.

King: wants work to become more outcome-focused - image: HW
King: wants work to become more outcome-focused - image: HW

"AHDB has been frightened to show leadership to the industry in the past, but we can't sit on the fence - we have to be a critical friend to it on what needs to change," she said. "We still have too many businesses producing a product that doesn't have a market and we have to help them move on. Our work must become more outcome-focused and for that we need to look at our competitors in Europe and elsewhere. Other sectors are already embracing benchmarking with overseas competitors."

The levy body "has already come a long way" in the 20 months since King took over, she said, but added that she still wants to "dramatically improve the value we deliver" for levy payers. Prior to their being brought together in June last year "it was rare for sectors to have much to do with each other", she said. "Horticulture has always been a progressive sector and now we are one joined-up organisation we can save a lot of money if we help our sectors share research and best practice."

It is also embarking on "more thought leadership on topics like Brexit" and while horticulture "has spent money on R&D we will see more focus on market development", she said. "Health and well-being is under-explored in horticulture. There is an opportunity there for more advocacy."

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