Farmers are being asked for their views on the role of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Andrew RT Davies AM has called on Welsh farmers to engage with the consultation to ensure the red meat levy comes fully home to Wales.
The AHDB is a UK statutory levy board, funded by farmers and others in the supply chain. The AHDB collects around £60 million a year in statutory levy from farmers and growers and currently uses that money for a range of purposes to support these sectors.
However, the Welsh farming industry has been historically disadvantaged under the red meat levy because of the structure of the slaughterhouse industry. The issue arises because levies are collected at point of slaughter in England on significant numbers of animals that were reared in Wales.
The Welsh Government has estimated that more than £1m a year of marketing and development cash currently resides in England due to the levy.
The review will look at the AHDB’s purpose and priorities, its strengths and where improvements need to be made. This is a joint 10-week exercise covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Welsh Conservatives’ Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary, Andrew RT Davies, has encouraged farmers to respond to the consultation, with the deadline for views the 9th November.
“This consultation has had relatively little attention in Wales to date, but it is vital the Welsh farming industry responds ‘en masse’ so we can claw back a significant amount of funding.
“Historically, Welsh farming has been placed at a huge disadvantage because of the restricting of slaughterhouse industry over the past few decades, with many farmers forced to use facilities across the border with vital funding ending up in England.
“With dues currently paid where an animal is slaughtered and not reared, it’s important the imbalance in monies is now redressed.
“I believe there is a will across the UK to reform the levy - so that the levy is payable to the country that the animal is born in – but we need to make sure we bang the drum, both politically and across the industry.
“I therefore implore farmers and the industry to actively engage with this consultation so Wales’s voice is heard loud and clear and the money comes home to where it belongs and for the benefit of Welsh farming.”