Twenty-four innovative agri-tech projects have today been awarded a share of £16 million funding through the latest round of the Government’s Agri-Tech Catalyst.
This aims 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, land shortages, water and energy require better and more reliable production of food, according to the Department for Innovation and Skills.
This round of the Government’s Agri-Tech Catalyst – alongside industry co-investment – has provided awards of between £200,000 and £1.5 million to the most pioneering science and technology projects within the UK’s agricultural sector to help meet global demand for food with the least environmental impact, it added.
Successful projects in the fifth round of funding announcements include the development of a robot that accurately eliminates and controls weeds, which it is said will significantly reduce herbicide use.
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, said the Department for Innovation and Skills.
Five projects will target challenges in developing countries, including improving methods to detect carcinogenic mould toxins in food crops.