Sustainable Agriculture and Food Initiative aims to increase productivity

13 Oct 2009

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Initiative aims to increase productivity  

  • Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform to be established by Technology Strategy Board
  • Collective Investment of up to £75 million over the next five years to support innovative research and development
  • Focus on the development and adoption of new technologies to increase sustainable food productivity, while decreasing environmental impact

The Technology Strategy Board together with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is to bring the government, business and researchers together in a major initiative to stimulate the development of new technologies that will increase food productivity, while decreasing the environmental impact of the food and farming industries.

The new programme - called the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform - will see investment of up to £75 million over the next five years in innovative technological research and development in areas such as crop productivity, sustainable livestock production, waste reduction and management and greenhouse gas reduction.

Minister for Food, Farming and Environment, Jim Fitzpatrick, said:

"Rising populations, globally and domestically, mean that we need to produce more food.  But the amount of land available for food production is set to decrease.  Also, agriculture and the food sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and there is an urgent global need to reduce these.  The amount of food we produce needs to increase and the only way this can be achieved, sustainably, is through the development of new technologies."

The Technology Strategy Board's Chief Executive, Iain Gray, added:

"By harnessing the innovative capabilities of UK businesses and researchers, we will not only help to solve this problem for the UK, but also give businesses based here a strong advantage in addressing these same challenges around the world.  We can make a real difference."

Commenting on the involvement of the BBSRC, Dr Celia Caulcott, Director of Innovation and Skills, said:

"This new Innovation Platform will play to this country's strengths in agriculture, food and biotechnology research.  In helping to bring the quality of British research to bear on a global problem, we will be doing a service not just to ourselves, but to the rest of the world.  A key part of the BBSRC's role is to advance technology that will benefit society as a whole and we are delighted to be closely involved in this important programme."

Peter Kendall, President of the National Farmers' Union, added:

 "This initiative meets a real need.  Farmers and growers need to produce more and impact less.  And we need to do this in the context of climate change, increasingly volatile markets and a demanding regulatory landscape.  These are massive challenges for the industry - but they also provide enormous market opportunities for farmers and for all businesses along the food supply chain.  We need science and technology to deliver solutions and I am sure that forward-looking, innovative farm businesses across the UK will be fully supportive of this important new programme."

The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform will begin its work by investing up to £13 million in new research and development that will help crop growers to respond to the dual challenges of increasing productivity while reducing the environmental impact of crop production.  With funding secured from the Technology Strategy Board,  Defra and the BBSRC, the ‘Novel Approaches to Crop Protection' funding competition will open on 18 January 2010.

PRESS CONTACT
Claire Cunningham, Media Relations Manager
Technology Strategy Board.
Switchboard: +44 1793 442700
Direct line: +44 1793 442901
Mobile: 0755 4115745   
mailto:Claire.Cunningham@tsb.gov.uk.

For full press release including notes to editors please follow this link - Sustainable Agriculture and Food Initiative aims to increase productivity  

 

 

Last updated on Monday 02 August 2010 at 12:28

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