Ag Tech News

UK Government announces £90 million for agri-tech

The Ordnance Survey’s use of cutting edge satellite imagery and digital data collection to map over 200,000 miles of England’s farmland and the CROPROTECT app which helps farmers protect crops from pests, weeds and diseases are among the technological innovations improving farming and food production that were hailed on 21st February 2018 in a speech by Business Secretary Greg Clark as he set out his ambition for a revolution in agri-farming, as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

In a keynote speech to the National Farmers’ Union conference, the Business Secretary highlighted how new technology is boosting farmers’ earning power and making agri-businesses more productive and profitable than ever before.

To make it easier for farmers and agricultural supply-chain businesses to embrace technology and innovation, Mr Clark announced £90 million of new funding to bring together the UK’s world-class agri-food sector with expertise in robotics, AI and data science.

The funding, delivered as part of the new the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will make it easier for food and agri-business to embrace technology and innovation that will be critical to meeting the increasing food demands of a growing population, fuel rural growth and create high-skilled jobs.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said “As someone who has known all my life that farming is foundational not just to our economy, but to our country. Providing the food and drink we live on and stewarding the countryside that is so much part of our national and local identity means there is no more essential industry.”

“The agricultural sector is the biggest industrial sector in the UK, Employing almost 4 million people and larger than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined.”

For your unique role in stewardship and in feeding the nation like big industry, you need to be profitable and we need to help make the conditions right for investment in the future, he said.

“With the technological revolution that is happening, the skills of the farming workforce need to keep pace. New technologies require new abilities and today’s modern British farmer is a Swiss-Army-Knife of skills. An engineer, an environmentalist, a data scientist a biochemist, an energy producer, a tourism entrepreneur, and an investor too.”

This will include the creation of ‘Translation Hubs’ bringing together farmers and growers businesses, scientists and Centres for Agricultural Innovation to apply the latest research to farming practice.

Investment forms part of the government’s Industrial Strategy which sets out a long term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. Through this strategy government is working with industry to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs as well as setting a path for Britain to lead in the high-tech, highly-skilled industries of the future.


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