£16m for new technologies to improve global food production and security
Thursday July 14th, 2016
Twenty-four innovative agri-tech projects have been awarded a share of £16 million funding through the latest round of the government’s Agri-Tech Catalyst to solve some of the world’s greatest agricultural challenges – from food security and sustainability to weed control and livestock disease.
The UK is a world leader in the fast growing agri-tech sector, as global challenges such as rising population, shortages of land, water and energy require better and more reliable production of food. This round of the government’s Agri-Tech Catalyst – alongside industry co-investment – has provided awards between £200,000 and £1.5 million to the most pioneering science and technology projects within the UK’s agricultural sector to help meet the global demand for food with the least environmental impact.
Successful projects in the fifth round of funding announcements include the development of a robot that accurately eliminates and controls weeds, which will significantly reduce the use of herbicides in food production. Another project will look at why potato greening occurs and how to prevent it – helping to reduce the 100,000 tonnes of potatoes thrown away annually. Support has also been given to develop technology that will help fruit farmers monitor and control the storage of British apples – improving their availability window across the year and reducing the need for imports.
Five projects will target challenges in developing countries, including improving methods to detect carcinogenic mould toxins in food crops.
Life Sciences Minister George Freeman said:
“Agri-tech is fast becoming big global business, creating major investment and export opportunities for the UK.
Whether extending the availability of UK apples to controlling the infection of cacao plants in Ghana, these innovative projects demonstrate the UK’s leadership in developing technologies and companies that will improve food and farming productivity in this country and around the world.”
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