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United approach needed on future UK challenges

A UNITED approach from the Government, researchers and industry to develop new knowledge and technologies will be essential if farming is to meet the challenges of feeding the growing population over the next couple of decades.

A UNITED approach from the Government, researchers and industry to develop new knowledge and technologies will be essential if farming is to meet the challenges of feeding the growing population over the next couple of decades.

That is according to Professor Chris Pollock, has who drafted a study for four UK farming industry organisations. His report, Feeding the Future: Innovation Priorities for Primary Food Production in the UK to 2030, was launched for consultation at the Institute of Agricultural Management’s national conference in London.

Prof Pollock said: “In the first half of this century we will be part of a global food network that has to produce 50% more food with less available land.

“This work has been about what the industry said it needed, and how it could play its part in this global challenge.”

He said that long-term strategic and applied research will be necessary, along with modern technologies, to improve precision and efficiency such as genetic and breeding programmes to increase productivity. He also called for a united approach to research and development from Government, research councils and producer groups, with primary producers involved at a high level.

The study was commissioned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the NFU, the Royal Agricultural Society of England, and the Agricultural Industries Confederation, and supported by the Technology Strategy Board.

John Godfrey, chairman of the AHDB, said: “Last week in a speech to the Royal Society, the Chancellor George Osborne challenged the scientific community of Britain to lead the world in agri-science.

“This report is designed to spell out the industry’s view on the research priorities for UK agriculture over the next two decades, and to act as a strategic guide.

“If we get this right, and we work together, then we will once again be a world leader in agri-science.”

 

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