Today (Friday 28 June) the government has announced the first 31 projects to benefit from the Transforming Food Production Challenge, a £90 million Industrial Strategy fund to help businesses, researchers and industry to transform farming and meet the needs of a growing population.
This funding will help businesses contribute towards providing greener, cleaner process for the agriculture sector, helping towards the government’s commitment to a target of net zero greenhouses gas emissions by 2050.
Farming Minister Robert Goodwill said:
Agri-tech can help us address the biggest challenges facing the agriculture industry, such as eradicating crop pests and diseases for arable farmers without harming the wider environment.
In 2018 we saw the total value of agri-tech investment worldwide skyrocket to $17 billion – an increase of 40% on the previous year.
Today’s funding will enable more investment in new technology, helping lead to scientific breakthroughs that could transform the sustainability of global food supply chains.
The projects that will benefit from today’s funding announcement include:
- Rootwave who will use a £690,000 grant to use electricity instead of chemicals to kill weeds via the roots avoiding damage to crops.
- Tuberscan who will use £391,000 to develop ground penetrating radar, underground scans and AI to monitor potato crops and identify when they are ready to harvest. This technology could increase the usable crop by an estimated 5%-10% and reduce food waste with minimal extra cost.
- aiScope who will use a £1 million grant to apply AI and analysis to tackle the common cereal weed, Blackgrass, potentially saving farmers £580 million a year.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:
The UK is a global leader in technological innovation, as well as being the first major economy to introduce plans for a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions and end the UK’s contribution to global warming entirely by 2050.
The projects announced today will ensure we lead the way in supporting our vital farming industry, delivering high quality food for consumers while reducing the wider environmental impact.
This is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy, investing in ground-breaking projects, creating highly skilled jobs and providing a cleaner, greener future for generations to come.
The full list of successful projects can be found here.