Boosting Productivity and Sustainability in Agriculture: £14 Million Government Investment

Boosting Productivity and Sustainability in Agriculture: £14 Million Government Investment

The UK Government has pledged over £600 million in funding over three years to drive innovation and enhance sustainability in the farming sector.

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With a focus on boosting productivity and encouraging eco-friendly practices, farmers, growers, foresters, research organizations, and agricultural businesses are invited to collaborate on new ideas and solutions.

Innovative Projects and Applications:

A portion of the funding has already been allocated to various projects aimed at improving farming practices.

Some notable initiatives include enhancing soft fruit yields, utilizing battery-operated robots for asparagus harvesting, and implementing ultraviolet disinfection methods in dairy and poultry operations.

Fostering Collaborations:

The Farming Innovation Programme has introduced two research and feasibility competitions to promote collaboration between farmers, growers, researchers, and agri-businesses.

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This collaboration is seen as a crucial driver in transforming innovative ideas into practical applications for the agriculture industry.

Small R&D Partnerships and Feasibility Studies:

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has recently released guidance for the third round of its £10 million Small R&D Partnerships competition.

This initiative aims to support businesses in developing farming products or services and facilitating their commercialization.

Additionally, a £4.5 million Feasibility Studies competition is underway to aid businesses and researchers in testing ideas that can enhance farming productivity, sustainability, and resilience, contributing to the move towards a net-zero carbon footprint.

Successful Previous Projects:

Among the previous winners is a study focused on identifying fungal strains resistant to pests, thereby reducing the reliance on harmful pesticides.

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These successful ventures demonstrate the potential for innovative research and practical applications to address some of the agriculture industry’s most significant challenges.

Upcoming Competition Dates:

Applicants are encouraged to review the guidance ahead of the competitions’ opening.
The Small R&D Partnerships competition will begin on August 14, while the Feasibility Studies competition will open on September 18.

Supporting the Agrifood Industry:

Innovate UK’s executive director for the healthy living and agriculture domain, Katrina Hayter, expressed enthusiasm for supporting the next round of applicants.She emphasized the importance of feasibility studies in researching ideas to improve farming practices, and Small R&D Partnerships as crucial steps towards commercializing novel farming products and services, ultimately transforming innovative solutions into practical applications.

Ongoing Success:

Since its launch in October 2021, the Farming Innovation Programme has facilitated 16 competitions, providing £123 million in funding to support the growth and advancement of the agriculture sector, driving it towards a more productive, sustainable, and eco-friendly future.

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