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AHDB sets out streamlined pork priorities, ahead of budget cuts

16th Sep 2022 / By Alistair Driver

AHDB has proposed three broad priorities for its future pork sector levy spend, ahead of forecast cuts to its budget. 

The levy body is forecasting that available pork funds will drop from about £10m in the current year to £8m in 2023/24, due mainly to a drop in pig numbers.

These numbers could change, as they both rely on forecasts, but there is no doubt there will be a substantial reduction in available funds and some current services will have to go or face cuts, AHDB Pork Sector chair Mike Sheldon told the NPA’s latest Pig Industry Group meeting.

With this in mind AHDB has proposed three over-arching priorities for its future pork levy spend, based on the response of the pig sector to the recent Shape the Future vote. These are:

• Domestic marketing
• Export markets
• Pork sector reputation.

The areas of levy investment that will have to be reduced or stopped will therefore primarily be in ‘the pre-farmgate area’, as guided by levy-payers in the Shape the Future response, Mr Sheldon said.

However, where some of these activities, for example, some the animal health and welfare projects, support the above priorities, such as the reputational work, they will have a stronger chance of being continued, he added.

The future of certain specific projects is being looked at, but Mr Sheldon stressed that no final decisions had yet been taken, and these will be subject to further discussion and feedback.

AHDB is planning an open meeting, primarily online, on November 10 to give levy payers a chance to discuss the proposals. “More details will be released nearer the time, but mark this as a date in your diary,” Mr Sheldon advised levy payers.