Wind-down and transition of all AHDB Horticulture and AHDB Potatoes activity and levies for 2021/22 period

On this page, you'll find information on wind-down and transition of all AHDB Horticulture and AHDB Potatoes activity.

Important update

Update on AHDB Horticulture wind down

Following the decision to end the statutory levy for Horticulture and the subsequent wind down plan for AHDB activity in this sector, the links below detail the fate of horticultural projects for this year and for projects that extend beyond 31st March 2023.

Through discussions across horticulture grower associations, an industry group chaired by John Chinn, are proposing to deliver the EAMU services through a new company, Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd, funded through voluntary subscriptions from industry.  

Following review of the outline proposal for the new HCP Ltd, the AHDB Board has carefully considered options and has approved, in principle, the requested transfer of surplus levy funds to the new company.  This will bring a degree of certainty which will enable the important EAMU services work to continue as the new organisation develops its operation.

Discussions are still taking place between the parties on the exact details of the arrangements, but industry associations have wholly signalled their support of a new voluntary subscription model as proposed by HCP and the move is considered a natural follow-on from the work previously undertaken by the levy board.

It is anticipated the sum involved is in the region of £1m over a period of time and the transfer of these levy monies is subject to Defra approval.

During the period of transition from the existing system to the new organisation the team at AHDB are managing the pipeline of work to give the new organisation the greatest chance of success.

Update on surplus AHDB Potato levy

In the potato sector, some proposals have been submitted to the AHDB Board for small grants for important work to continue in the absence of AHDB Potatoes taking the lead. The move away from the levy body to a new era has some way to go in this sector, especially as the AHDB board have noted that any grant scheme would be contingent of finalising the sale of the Sutton Bridge research facility and collecting outstanding debt from potato for businesses for the 2021 growing season. AHDB Board felt that a public demonstration of support on a scale achieved in horticulture would allow progress on grant schemes.

Responses to questions asked by levy payers

Ministers were clear there would need to be a final 2021/22 levy.

AHDB must fund operational liabilities associated with the wind-down of contracts, people and assets and levy payers have a responsibility to cover the costs of winding up levy supported activities. This means a levy is needed in 2021/22 to supplement horticulture and potato sector reserves to cover these costs, and the statutory levy in the horticulture and potato sectors remained in place as a legal requirement for the financial year 2021/22.

We recognise the outcome of the ballots and the end to the statutory horticulture and potato levies has been confirmed by Ministers in their analysis report on the industry consultation and what they will do next to put in place changes to the legislation that governs AHDB.

2020/21 has been confirmed as the last year of the existing statutory levies in the report published by Defra and the Devolved Administrations on 8 March 2022.

At 11/05/23:-

In Horticulture (including Mushroom) 98% of levy payers have already paid with 96% of the overall 2021 (2020-2021) debt settled. 

In Potatoes (Grower and Buyer) 96% of levy payers have already paid with 96% of the overall 2021 debt settled. 

Overall debt (2021 and prior years) outstanding in Horticulture is £198,000 approx.

Overall debt (2021 and prior years) outstanding in Potatoes is £76,000 approx.

We have published a separate answer below in relation to failure to make a payment. Any queries relating to payment or our estimate process should be directed to

AHDB encourage all levy payers to act responsibly and pay the levy this year which is necessary to cover the wind-down costs of the activities in these sectors. AHDB remains legally obliged to pursue all overdue levy payments and AHDB will use its powers to pursue levy debtors through the courts if necessary.

We considered a number of approaches and where industry organisations have shown interest in taking on products, tools or services then staff expertise have also featured in those discussions, when appropriate.

For AHDB Horticulture it was estimated to cost c. £10.6M to meet all the liabilities through the planned transition of activities and the wind-down process. AHDB horticulture reserves at 31 March 2021 were £6.05M. The reduced 2021/22 levy rate is expected to raise £4.55M.

For AHDB Potatoes it was estimated to cost c. £7.4M to meet all the liabilities through the planned transition of activities and the wind-down process. However, AHDB potato reserves at 31 March 2021 were only £1.2M. These reserves are relatively low because over the last three years the sector has run an annual deficit, thereby reducing its reserves.

AHDB sector reserve levels were never set to fund a sector specific wind-down situation. The 2021/22 potato levy rate is expected to raise £5.6M.

For full detail on the costings associated with the EAMU programme and service, Download Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) programme costings – 2022/23.

AHDB Horticulture has delivered an Extension of Authorisation of Minor Use (EAMU) and Emergency Authoristaion (EA) service for many years, securing over 70% of the minor use authorisations in the market.  The outcomes i.e. new authorsations are easy for growers to see but the underlying process for delivering a joined up, prioritsied and effective service has largely gone unnoticed. 

As the future of this service now sits in the hands of the industry to resolve, growers and other colleagues in the sector are keen to understand more about how the EAMU and wider regulatory service operates.  We have therefore produced this short video which outlines the main steps of the process. 

When AHDB was set up and BPC operations moved from Oxford to Stoneleigh, there were a number of exceptional reorganisation costs involved which were funded through those reserves. All of the AHDB Annual Report and Accounts (ARA) are available. 

In the 2008/09 ARA, you will see an opening reserve of £4.16M for the Potato sector, which reduced to £1.36M at 31 March 2010 (as stated in the 2009/10 ARA Annual Report and Accounts). Subsequently the Potato sector has run board-approved deficits in some years, spending the reserves money on research, Knowledge Exchange, Marketing and Market Intelligence work to benefit potato growers. 

Previous AHDB boards took a view that farmers would not want more reserves than necessary to operate cash-flow and a small contingency reserve.

There are 17 non-storage research projects that ran throughout 2021/22 financial year (four of which extend into the following one or two financial years) along with Strategic Potato (Spot) Farms final liabilities, and our Market Intelligence products that ran until June 2021. A few smaller contract commitments were included where we are part of cross sector arrangements (e.g. paying for a share of the contract with British Nutrition Foundation for the schools education programme). Expenditure was £2.5m and staff costs were £1.5m which brings the total to £4M.

Storage projects don’t profile precisely against the financial year with crops in store as late as Aug 2021 and project data processing/reporting taking place in December 2021. We've included expenditure of £0.1M against six projects which when added to staff costs of £0.5M brings the total to £0.6M.

Project titles are available here.

A contingency of funding will be held for a period of up to six years to fund any residual liabilities which may arise in the horticulture or potato sectors. After this period the utilisation of any funds remaining will be discussed with the industry and government.

If there are any significant amounts of horticulture or potato funds remaining, over and above the required contingency, at the end of the wind-down process, the more immediate utilisation of these will be discussed with the industry and government.

The legislation that governs AHDB, stipulates that the levy raised from an industry sector must be used for the benefit of that sector. This means that the levy money from AHDB's other sectors cannot be used to settle any horticulture or potato liabilities that come to light over the next few years. Therefore, AHDB needs to retain some contingency funds for this purpose. Six years is deemed an appropriate period in which any such liabilities will have been revealed and after this period the utilisation of any funds remaining will be discussed with the industry and government.

If however, there are any significant amounts of horticulture or potato funds remaining, over and above the required contingency, at the end of the wind-down process, the more immediate utilisation of these will be discussed with the industry and government.


  • The Potato Sector Board has had oversight of the potato activity wind-down process. Alison Levett remained as interim chair and has been attending relevant parts of the main AHDB board as an observer. This arrangement ceased at the end of March 2022, and members were thanked for their contributions in a closing meeting
  • The Horticulture Sector Board has oversight of the horticulture activity wind-down process. Peter Judge is the interim chair and attends relevant parts of the main AHDB board as an observer. This arrangement will continue until March 2023, recognising the need to provide oversight of the EAMU/EA work and the remaining horticulture research projects (22 running in 2022/23, 6 in 2023/24 and 8 in 2024/25)

Levy payer communications and future access to research reports and fact sheets

Communications to levy payers are limited to in-season EAMU notifications (through our monthly Horticulture Update), potato storage results and essential updates, such as emergency pest and disease communications. We will update financial projections for both sectors on this site later in 2022.


The following research and knowledge exchange projects will be funded until the end of the contract.

Click on the links below for more information:


  • Asparagus: Sustainable soil management for stand longevity and yield optimization
  • Carbon audits
  • Development and implementation of season long control strategies for Drosophila suzukii in soft and tree fruit
  • Downy mildew control strategies
  • Hardy Nursery Stock strategic centre
  • Improved understanding and control of bacterial blotch and green mould in mushroom production
  • Insecticide resistance in the Tomato leafminer
  • Next generation berries- implementing genome wide selection approaches
  • Onion: Improving understanding and control of white rot in salad and bulb onions.
  • Pest Bulletin
  • Preventative measures to reduce economically significant weeds, pests and diseases in non-broadacre crops high level scoping review
  • Seed treatments for damping off disease control in spinach and herbs
  • Selection and improvement of insect pathogenic fungi for the control of multi-resistant aphids
  • SmartHort labour efficiency online modules
  • Soft Fruit Demonstration Centre (Wet Centre)
  • Soil Biology & Soil Health Partnership
  • SPECTRA: Whole plant spectral response models: Optimised greenhouse light environments, modelling whole plant reponses to spectral quality (Studentship)
  • The role of endophytes in affecting symptom development of European apple canker caused by Neonectria ditissima' or Systemic infection and symptom expression of Neonectria ditissima (BBSRC)
  • ToBRFV: biology, detection and management or 'Understanding disease development of Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus  (ToBRFV)'
  • Tomato: An investigation into poor pollination performance by the native bumblebee, Bombus terrestris audax
  • Towards a better understanding of the biology and genetics of Phytophthora rubi and P. fragaria which causes devastating root rot disease in raspberries and strawberries (Studentship)
  • Tree Fruit- Plum demonstration centre
  • Tree Fruit Quality
  • Application and Management of Biopesticides for Efficacy and Reliability (AMBER)
  • Asparagus stand longevity and yield optimization
  • Bedding and Pot Plant Centre
  • Bioinspired vision systems for automated harvesting (Studentship)
  • Data Collection including residues trials, and application fees to support EAMU and EA applications
  • Developing nutrient management guidance in Protected Ornamental, Bulbs and Cut Flower crops
  • Developing nutrient management guidance in Rhubarb crops
  • Efficacy trials to support EAMUs programme (18 work packages)

    - Bean seed fly control on alliums (leeks)

    - Bean seed fly control on legumes

    - Bait sprays for Spotted Wing Drosophila (raspberry trial crop)

    - Scab control on pome fruit

    - CSFB control on oriental cabbage

    - Optimising bioprotectants for herbs IPM

    - Whitefly control in glasshouse crops (strawberry trial crop)

    - Thrips control in protected crops (strawberry trial crop)

    - Thrips control in cut flowers

    - Seed treatments for spinach damping-off

    - Powdery mildew control on lettuce

    - Pythium IPM for cucumbers

    - Botrytis fruit rot IPM screen for peppers

    - Fungal leaf spot control in Hardy Nursery Stock

    - Bacterial leaf spot control in protected ornamentals

    - Narcissus bulb treatments for Fusarium control

    - Pre-emergence herbicides for weed control in turnip / swede

    - Prevention of storage rots in stone fruit

  • Herbs: determining the basis of variation in flavour
  • Improved management of bacterial diseases of horticultural crops
  • Improved management of virus diseases in UK carrot crops
  • Improving integrated pest management in strawberry pests
  • Improving weed control in hard nursery stock
  • Integrated decision support tools for management of downy mildew in onions
  • Integrated forecasting for diseases affecting multiple hosts exemplified by vegetable brassicas and oilseed rape
  • Monitoring  and managing insecticide resistance
  • Non-chemical growth control of protected pot and bedding plants or Controlled substrate moisture growing (and other innovations) for poinsettias and other pot plants
  • Role of auxin in Phytophthora root rot disease development in soft fruit (Studentship)
  • SCEPTREplus
  • Strategic Centre for Herbs & Leafy Salads: Vegetable propagation peat reduction grower demonstration trials
  • Strategic Centres for Field Vegetables
  • Surveillance of virus diseases in UK pea crops
  • Using LAMP for non-invasive monitoring systems for tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV)
  • Developing nutrient management guidance for Hardy Nursery Stock
  • Development of an integrated strategy for Bean Seed Fly control  (Studentship)
  • Diagnostic tests to assess Fusarium disease risk, select rotation crops and monitor microbial communities
  • Efficacy trials to support EAMUs programme
  • Growing media usage monitoring
  • Integrated management of lettuce downy mildew (Studentship) or Understanding populations of the lettuce downy mildew pathogen Bremia lactucae to inform integrated disease management
  • Lettuce: host resistance to fusarium wilt
  • Membership of the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club (EMSBC)
  • Monitoring  and managing insecticide resistance
  • National Cut Flower Centre Programme
  • UK Raspberry Breeding Consortium (UKRBC)
  • Fruit Crop Research CTP PhD Studentship Scheme
  • Growsave
  • Utilisation of single and multiple species cover crops for the suppression of soil borne nematodes of Narcissus  (Studentship)
  • All hard copy factsheets, publications and grower events which are not part of a contractual commitment


  • Investigation of the potential for precision soil and crop growth mapping to improve tuber size distribution at harvest.
  • CIPC mechanisms
  • Soil Biology & Soil Health
  • Blight population monitoring for management recommendations
  • Mineral oils for control of aphid-borne virus transmission
  • IPM: response to loss of actives for pest management
  • Integrated potato agronomy and storage
  • Metabolic markers to mechanism of growth suppression - understanding the molecular physiology of sprouting in potato
  • Low temperature storage of potato varieties
  • Integrated alternative sprout suppressants: Fresh
  • Integrated alternative sprout suppressants: Processing
  • Maleic Hydrazide Review
  • CIPC Contamination
  • Potato storage using spearmint oil
  • Growsave
  • Strategic Potato Farms
  • Aphid monitoring
  • Blight Spy
  • PhD Conference for Crops
  • Blight IPM - Fungicide Resistance Management
  • Potato variety database
  • Monitoring and managing insecticide resistance
  • Applications of machine learning to precision potato blackleg prediction
  • Cross sector - Insecticide resistance management
  • Metabolic markers to mechanism of growth suppression: understanding the molecular physiology of sprouting in potato

  • Education partnership with the British Nutrition Foundation
  • Safe Haven Assurance Scheme
  • Yield Enhancement Network
  • AgriLeader work
  • Farmbench data validation and group work
  • Nuffield sponsorship
  • On-farm carbon audits
  • All hard copy factsheets, publications and grower events which are not part of a contractual commitment
  • Consumer marketing campaigns
  • Grow Your Own Potatoes
  • Potato Europe trade show
  • Fruit Logistica trade show
  • Export missions and market access work
  • Area, yield and production estimates
  • Potatoes planting, lifting and crop condition survey
  • Global data provision