At an event at AHDB headquarters at Stoneleigh designed to introduce both Kendall and farming minister George Eustice to levy board staff, Kendall said: "One of the biggest global challenges we face is food security. Knowing this, UK farmers need to be growing more. Instead, we are growing less and importing more. I want AHDB to help to reverse this."
By contrast earlier this month Eustice was criticised for his reportedly relaxed approach to UK self sufficiency before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
He told the committee: "Food security is not just about self-sufficiency at a national level. Actually having open markets and free trade globally has got a very important role to play in making sure we have food security."
He added: "We are not promoting anything directly in terms of consumers – we are not supporting any advertising campaigns."
At the AHDB event, Eustice said, "It is vitally important that we all concentrate on addressing the future needs of levy payers. I have been encouraged by the way AHDB is becoming a more focused and efficient organisation."
He added: "There is an important question about whether AHDB should be more of a single entity rather than operating as six separate sectors and I’m pleased that the Board has already started to look at this.
Finally he acknowledged the expertise of the AHDB in "exports, knowledge transfer and R&D".
Citing innovaiton in the soft fruit sector which has meant home-grown strawberries "hit our shelves in the first week of March this year" Kendall said the AHDB had a "great story to tell" with "great examples of our levy-payers’ levy in action".
HDC chairman Neil Bragg welcomed the minister's recognition of the role of R&D, and the "impact HDC funded work through the development of innovation in the soft fruit sector specifically identified by the new AHDB chairman.