AHDB Cereals Assurance and Market Access

As you may be aware, we asked AHDB if they might help us in some way to address the issue of AIC's differentiation in requirements between UK grain vs imported grain - the unlevel playingfield. Please see the response below.

I've had a couple of emails from AHDB over the past month, and spoke to Martin GS yesterday. Constructive conversation and AHDB are very happy to help, at least in helping to facilitate discussions and also (if I understood correctly) with building in flexibility to the digital grain passport for space for any future declaration or differing grain assurance scheme section.

There's no point in AHDB changing the grain passport at this very moment in time, unless there is any agreement from AIC or the end users to accept a new standard. That's logical. As AHDB suggest, it's also probably logical to wait until after the RT consultation results, before making any more responses. We will, however, continue to work away at the issue.

I have made one edit to the below letter before publishing it on this open forum. Please see the three sentences after the bold text. AHDB are there to hep us, so thought it best to do this (not easy being a novice politician!)



AHDB letter....

We have spoken to all the parties involved in the issues you raised about both the unlevel playing field for imported grains and the wider challenges of a single Red Tractor Assurance scheme, and its cost impact on some sectors of the industry being disproportionate to the perceived value.

It is our impression that both AIC and Red Tractor have taken your concerns on Board. For AIC, whilst their response has been to keep the situation as it is, we think they do accept that there is a potential for an unlevel playing field. However, they point out that for much of the imported grain, UK customers set additional requirements above those laid out in the AIC table. However, those are part of the buying contract and are commercially sensitive, so they are not available to help decide whether the imported grain is on a par with UK grain. We believe that this mainly relates to food milling and malting quality products.

For feed grains, there may be some room for change, if the buyers and feed compounding chains agree to it. Our advice would be for you to speak directly or through your representatives to the feed millers to see what their position is for a simplified UK scheme for feed grains. We would be happy to facilitate that discussion if it would help you as we have a Board member from this sector. However, if you are only focussing on farm-to-farm trade and home mixing, that may not be a route you want to pursue.

We have spoken at length to Red Tractor. They are fully aware of the situation and your concerns. They obviously have their current consultation, and we cannot predict what will come out of it. We would recommend that you wait and see what responses are made from the consultation before taking any further action.

We believe that the critical issue here is whether the market (the buyers) will purchase from a simpler scheme. A 2-level scheme or a second scheme may cause confusion in the market, and we know from other examples that in such cases buyers go for the safe option of the ‘belt and braces’ scheme. If what you are suggesting is for a very specific trade – farm to farm sales and home mixing, this may not affect feed millers so much, so it is possible that a limited scheme could work.

We thought that the best help AHDB could provide in the short term would be to bring all sides of the grain industry together and facilitate a discussion to find out what their views would be of the changes you are suggesting. This would allow you to present your case and get views from different parts of the supply chain. We proposed this to RT. (For the purpose of publishing this letter on an open forum, I'm going to edit AHDB's words for the rest of this paragraph, hopefully to not alter the meaning, but just so it is in my words rather than publishing AHDB's exact words). RT did not see any value in joining that discussion, saying they were aware of all the arguments. AHDB don't think there is any point in setting up such a meeting without RT. After speaking to AHDB, I got the impression AHDB were disappointed with RT over this.

As you know, we are committed to developing a digital version of the grain passport and I have asked the team to see whether a simple sign-off process could be added, should there be agreement for an assurance scheme of the type you describe.

The AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds Board is currently reviewing its budgets. Both with a reduced income from the poor 2020 harvest and new demands to build a digital passport scheme, we need to put our resources where they have best effect for levy payers. The Board which includes all elements of the Cereal sector, but is by majority farmer levy payers, is considering dropping its support to RT and placing that contribution elsewhere. I will keep you updated on that decision, which is likely soon.

We fully appreciate that this issue will continue to run, and we will continue to be here to help you. We are very keen to see the outcome of the Red Tractor consultation and would be happy to discuss this again at that point. Our offer of facilitating a whole industry discussion on the issue remains open.

Kindest regards
 
Sounds like RT have bitten the hand that feeds them £1/4million every year!
Let's see what happens.

If someone paid me £1/4 million??? per year and wanted a chat, I'd make myself available. In fact, id go out of my way to make myself available and wouldn't "see no value" in that chat. I would see £250k of value in that conversation.

I think AHDB are there to help their levy payers with the RT/AIC and market access issue. It may take longer than we'd like, but think the sentiment is maybe there.
 

D14

Member
Let's see what happens.

If someone paid me £1/4 million??? per year and wanted a chat, I'd make myself available. In fact, id go out of my way to make myself available and wouldn't "see no value" in that chat. I would see £250k of value in that conversation.

I think AHDB are there to help their levy payers with the RT/AIC and market access issue. It may take longer than we'd like, but think the sentiment is maybe there.
To me that just shows further ignorance of the people at RT. Theres only 25 of them so this was a decision directly made by the top 1 or 2 and we know who they are.
Their attitude is that they believe the funding wouldn't be at risk, otherwise they would of agreed to this request. Looks like they are going to be in for a shock because that £250,000 would be at least 6 employees which is 25% of the work force. Are the top 2 going to start working on the shop floor to make up the shortfall and will the existing staff stay if their work load increases with no increase in their pay?
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
if you were AHDB would you to continue to send £250k pa in this direction?

We proposed this to RT. (For the purpose of publishing this letter on an open forum, I'm going to edit AHDB's words for the rest of this paragraph, hopefully to not alter the meaning, but just so it is in my words rather than publishing AHDB's exact words). RT did not see any value in joining that discussion,
Arrogant !
 

Drillman

Member
Mixed Farmer
To me that just shows further ignorance of the people at RT. Theres only 25 of them so this was a decision directly made by the top 1 or 2 and we know who they are.
Their attitude is that they believe the funding wouldn't be at risk, otherwise they would of agreed to this request. Looks like they are going to be in for a shock because that £250,000 would be at least 6 employees which is 25% of the work force. Are the top 2 going to start working on the shop floor to make up the shortfall and will the existing staff stay if their work load increases with no increase in their pay?
There that arrogant they will just up there fees to all of us!

Although I bet Jim Mosley spat his coffee out and has been making some frantic phone calls after reading this.....
 

AHDB winding down horticulture and potatoes operations as Ministerial decision awaited

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AHDB has announced yesterday it is winding down significant activities on behalf of the horticulture and potatoes sectors.

While still awaiting a decision on the future by Ministers in England, Scotland and Wales, AHDB wants to reassure levy payers their views have been heard following recent ballots in the two sectors.

AHDB is now stopping programmes of work that could be restarted in the future by grower associations, individual growers or the supply chain. This work includes for example, export market access and promotional international trade event work, consumer marketing campaigns and market pricing and insight information. AHDB will continue to deliver limited emergency work on pests and diseases, including the Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU)’s and some...
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