Speaking at NFU conference, Greg Clark said the Government needed to put an increased emphasis on the development half of research and development.
Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced a £90 million fund for agri-tech revolution in his mission to place food and farming at the heart of the Industrial Strategy.
Speaking at NFU Conference yesterday (February 21), Mr Clark said the government needed to put a more increased focus on the development side of research and development (R&D) to boost ‘the knowledge exchange that already takes place across food and farming’.
He said the fund would help apply the latest research to the farming practice, bringing together artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and earth observation.
“In this country we have often been better at the invention and discovery of new ways of doing things than the implementation of them,” Mr Clark said.
“And the AHDB is right in saying we need to put an increased emphasis in the D in R&D, the development half of research and development.
“I am delighted to announce today that the Government will invest £90m to make this challenge a reality.”
Mr Clark said the investment would 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.
He added: “It should be a big boost to the knowledge exchange that already takes place across food and farming.
“And with the technological revolution that is happening, it seems to me the skills of the farming workforce need to keep pace.”
GC: (The first Govt minister I have listened to in ages that actually sounds entirely credible and committed to a better future for business) #NFU18— John Charles-Jones (@woodboroughpark)
Ian Wright CBE, director general of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said he was encouraged by Mr Clark’s determination to place food and farming at the heart of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
“As the Secretary of State correctly points out, the £112bn ‘farm-to-fork’ industry deserves the same sort of respect from all parts of Government that many other manufacturing sectors have come to expect and the creation of the Food and Drink Sector Council is a necessary first step in ensuring this happens,” he said.
“Alongside our colleagues across the food and drink supply chain, FDF is eager to continue our work in partnership with Government to harness our huge untapped potential, whether in skills, exports or innovation, and tackle the challenge of raising our productivity at what is a pivotal and uncertain time for our industry.”