Maximum Value for Money Hgca's Target

Article excerpt

THE Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) has launched a wide-ranging plan of activities for 2001/02, aimed at maximising the benefit received by levy payers in the coming year.

The focus is on sustainable competitiveness in home and overseas markets by helping the industry improve production, quality and marketing.

Launching the annual business plan yesterday, HGCA chief executive, Paul Biscoe, confirmed that the levy - which is raised on sales of cereals and oilseeds grown in the United Kingdom - remains at the same rate as set six years ago.

"Recognising that it has been a difficult season, HGCA is committed to working towards our vision of being indispensable to the arable industry, supporting all sectors with the independent information they need and providing our levy payers with excellent value for money.

"In particular, we will be consulting growers and the trade on how to make our work even more relevant to their businesses."

Dr Biscoe added: "Our key areas of activity address the most important elements of our levy payers' businesses, namely: planning, producing, marketing, processing and consuming."

Some of the key activities in each area:

PLANNING: Helping levy payers to identify and adapt to market changes:

l Recommended lists

Independent evaluation of all cereals and oilseed rape varieties will be managed by HGCA on behalf of the industry.

HGCA Recommended Lists will have greater focus on varieties to meet market needs.

l Risk management In the volatile market which we are and expect to be experiencing, there needs to be greater understanding of risk management.

HGCA will help with conferences, courses and other initiatives on marketing to help growers learn how to spread risk and to get a better return on their crops.

l Market analysis

A strength for levy payers is the independent information and expert analysis provided by HGCA. Regular reports will be produced on market conditions and the direction of each sector. We will publish monthly supply and demand updates to support the grain chain in its planning decisions and highlight opportunities for export development and import substitution.

PRODUCING Knowledge through research:

l Production efficiency HGCA will continue its proactive approach to new R&D projects - in their selection, funding, management and reporting. This will be strengthened by involving agronomists in discussions on research priorities and interpretation of results.

In conjunction with the industry we will identify emerging priorities for oilseeds research, and continue to fund research to help those who grow these crops.

l Environmental responsibility. The HGCA will continue to develop patch spraying of weeds to minimise the herbicide use on crops, safeguarding the environment with no loss of productivity.

To ensure that farmers are in a stronger position to make better use of HGCA research results the flow of information to them and their advisers will be improved.

l Post-harvest handling

Growers and grain store managers need reliable information to ensure maximum food safety standards for their crops and we will continue to carry out research on post-harvest management to provide that knowledge. …