The UK Government Food Strategy, which applies to England, sets out plans for supporting secure, resilient and sustainable food production and supply; mitigating the food system’s impact on climate change; and healing and enhancing landscapes and nature – all against the backdrop of levelling up and ensuring we play our wider role in a healthy and sustainable global food system.
The UK Agri-Tech Centres welcome the recognition in the strategy of the vital role that innovation plays in achieving its objectives. We are already working closely with Defra, along with our main funder Innovate UK and other government, public and commercial partners in England and the devolved nations, to increase UK agri-tech’s contribution to sustainable and resilient agrifood systems.
Our work is aligned with the goals of the strategy in that it is helping to get effective innovation into the hands of end users in farming and the food supply chain more quickly, in order to bring economic and environmental benefits to the agrifood sector, boost the wider UK economy, and support One Health for people and planet.
To make this happen, those with the influence and resources in government, business and the research community need to be working together to support and accelerate thriving agri-tech innovation.
We are driving progress in this area, for example through our involvement in a large number of existing Defra and Innovate UK-supported, multi-partner research and development projects – 500 projects worth £100m since the Centres were established.
These are pushing forward new approaches and technologies that are critical to increased UK farming productivity, food resilience and sustainability. Examples of the innovation we are progressing include making the most of agrifood data; on-farm automation; alternative proteins; reducing livestock emissions in support of net zero goals; aquaculture; emerging agricultural systems; and food safety, quality and provenance.
As the various innovation-related initiatives in the white paper are progressed, it will be vital that a full range of stakeholders are involved, to ensure all areas of action, and any existing gaps, are addressed comprehensively. The UK Agri-Tech Centres will contribute collectively, and as independent Centres. Each has specific areas of expertise and insight which will provide valuable input to the discussion.
We look forward to working in partnership with Defra and Innovate UK as they provide ongoing support for agrifood innovation.
Original news source: Agritech Centres