AHDB sets out vision and purpose for 2017-2020

Improving resilience and competition are crucial priorities for AHDB Beef & Lamb, which outlined post-Brexit strategy targets for the next three years on 8 December. 

The levy board outlined seven targets for beef and lamb to achieve between 2017-2020. Improvements in meat consistency and driving value in retail and foodservice were among the notable strategic plans.

AHDB Beef & Lamb estimates that out-of-spec beef carcases hitting the market cost the industry £1m a week. To challenge this, it aims to have 58% of cattle and sheep meeting supplier specifications by 2020.

AHDB Beef & Lamb strategy targets
Increase the number of animals meeting market specification by 2% year-on-year
5% profitability increase, based on performance per hectare of producers who benchmark with AHDB.
Increase value of English beef and lamb in retail and foodservice by 3% by 2020
Improve consumer confidence and satisfaction with beef
Lift lamb sales to young consumers
Maintain export volumes in established markets up to 2020
Encourage more farmers to use – and value – AHDB market intelligence products

Levy fees will not rise next year. The organisation also confirmed export development will enjoy the largest chunk of investment, accounting for 26% in 2019-2020. Domestic market development investment will account for 22%, while supply chain interrogation will see a 1% investment uplift. The board said it aimed to recruit someone to work alongside the fast-growing halal market too.

The vision of AHDB’s new corporate strategy is to create “a world-class food and farming industry inspired by, and competing with, the best”.

AHDB Beef & Lamb strategy director, Laura Ryan, said the strategy targets come against the backdrop of a “fragmented market”, which is moving into uncharted waters in the wake of Brexit. Ryan added the sector also faced challenges from a consolidated processor base and declining long-term red meat consumption.

With myriad challenges constraining long-term prospects, Ryan said the organisation’s strategy had been created to ensure levy payers get “more bang for their buck”.

Norman Bagley, head of policy for the Association for Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS), welcomed the new targets and said there was “a lot of good stuff”.

Beef and lamb farmer James Fanshawe from Oak Farm added: “The direction of travel is right – and they should not be deterred from developing export markets, which are absolutely key for the British farmer.”

However, Fanshawe added he was “not convinced” AHDB spending – albeit small – in its estimated breeding values (EBVs) program, Signet, would provide any results that would benefit farmers.

AHDB Beef & Lamb’s strategy is open to consultation until Monday 9 January 2017. To make a submission, click here.

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