Food security gets a £160 million boost

25 July 2013

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26 July 2013 | Will Green 

The government has announced a £160 million boost for agricultural technology to increase productivity and food security.

The cash will be used to develop and implement cutting edge technologies – such as “cancer-fighting broccoli” – to “deliver sustainable, healthy and affordable food for future generations”. 

The move is part of the Agricultural Technologies Strategy, which is designed to make the UK a “world leader in addressing food security issues”.

Lord De Mauley, minister for science at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 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.”

The cash will be split with £90 million used to set up Centres for Agricultural Innovation – with additional investment from the private sector – and £70 million spent creating an “Agri-Tech Catalyst” to bring new technologies to market.

The strategy includes establishing a leadership council to unify the agri-tech sector and a team to boost exports and foreign investment. An extra £30 million has also been announced for four agri-science research and innovation campuses, while a multi-million pound research partnership between Rothamsted Research and Syngenta aims to increase wheat productivity.

The agricultural supply chain – including farms, retail 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.”

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