Bold new UK Agri-Tech Strategy shows ‘real ambition’

Bold new UK Agri-Tech Strategy shows ‘real ambition’

Applauding the bold vision in the Government’s new Agri-Tech Strategy launched this week, the levy board AHDB believes it can be a catalyst for bringing new science, innovation and skills to our agriculture and horticulture sectors, helping to boost the UK economy.

“Creativity and innovation is something we do very well in this country. If UK agri-businesses can harness the latest expertise, learning and technology then our sector has massive potential to help the UK economy grow by attracting inward investment, substituting imports and increasing exports,” said AHDB chief executive Tom Taylor.

£160million will be invested establishing Centres for Agricultural Innovation and an Agri-Tech Catalyst fund to improve the translation of research into practice. The NFU believes it is very significant that agricultural science and technology are finally being recognised right across Government as essential to the success of the farming industry and its ability to contribute to the economic growth of the UK.

Taylor continued: “The competitiveness and sustainability of our farming sector will be transformed if funding is channelled into industry-relevant research that is capable of being rapidly translated into on-farm innovation. This new Agri-Tech Strategy shows the Government has real ambition for the UK to be a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability – I’m greatly encouraged.”

The levy board is also pleased the Agri-Tech Strategy acknowledges the high level industry research priorities identified by primary producers in the Feeding the Future report, launched last month by a Joint Commissioning Group comprised of AHDB, National Farmers Union (NFU), NFU Scotland, the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the Agricultural Industries Confederation, and supported by the Technology Strategy Board.

“If our partnership work on Feeding the Future helps bring added value to levy payers by linking Government with industry to invest in key areas of science and technology, leading to step changes in productivity and sustainability, then everyone’s a winner,” said AHDB Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Crute, a member of the Agri-Tech Leadership Council.

Professor Crute was also encouraged by the strategy’s commitment to stimulate co-ordination, collaboration and integration along supply chains, including research, in a drive to use resources more efficiently, simultaneously achieving environmental benefit and increasing productivity –
so-called Sustainable Intensification.

“Identifying where Government and industry should come together to fund research and innovation will be hugely important and central to enabling the sustainable intensification of UK agriculture – this is something I very much relish helping to promote as the route to greater productivity with positive environmental benefits,” he added.

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