Government announces £160m technology boost for agricultural industries
The UK will become a world leader in agricultural science and technology following the launch of a new strategy to deliver sustainable, healthy and affordable food for future generations, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced.
Breakthroughs in nutrition, informatics, satellite imaging, remote sensing, meteorology and precision farming mean the agriculture sector is one of the world’s fastest growing sectors.
Developed in partnership with industry, the Agricultural Technologies Strategy will ensure everyone from farmers and retailers, to cooks and shoppers share the benefits.
It includes a £160 million government investment in developing cutting edge technologies, and taking innovative products such as cancer-fighting broccoli from the field to the shopping aisle.
Industry is also expected to invest heavily in the strategy which will transform farming in the UK, using the latest technologies to ensure the process is as productive as possible whilst reducing environmental impact and resource use.
With the demand for food rising rapidly worldwide, the strategy also aims to make the UK a world leader in addressing global food security issues.
Agri-tech is a well-established and important UK sector. The entire agri-food supply chain, from agriculture to final retailing and catering, is estimated to contribute £96 billion to the economy and employ 3.8 million people.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “Some of the biggest brands in farming and food are based in the UK. We have a world class science and research community and our institutes and universities are at the forefront of agricultural research.
“To get ahead in the global race, this strategy sets out how we can ensure that we turn our world-beating agricultural science and research into world-beating products and services.”
This Agricultural Technologies Strategy follows the recent plans for automotive, construction, aerospace and other key sectors to secure sustainable future growth in the economy.
Defra Minister for Science Lord De Mauley said: “We face a global challenge to feed the rapidly increasing population in a way which is affordable and sustainable.
“We are investing in technologies that will enable British farmers to meet these challenges and take advantage of the growing demand in export markets for British food.”