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This content is hosted by Agri-TechE as part of its service to its members. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual/organisation that supplied the content and not those of Agri-TechE or its employees.

Agri-Tech Centres respond to National Food Strategy

Responding to today’s (15.07.21) publication of the National Food Strategy, the UK Agri-Tech Centres (Agrimetrics, Agri-EPI, CHAP and CIEL) have issued the following joint statement:

The UK Agri-Tech Centres welcome the transformational thinking presented in the National Food Strategy that is needed to address a range challenges including climate change, food security, dietary health, food system resilience and nutritional inequality.  The report rightly acknowledges that these challenges are complex and cannot be addressed in isolation from one another.

In our role supporting the delivery of innovation for a resilient and sustainable food system, we share a common focus on many of the Strategy’s highlighted themes, notably supporting Net Zero targets; smarter supply chains; emerging agricultural systems including alternative proteins; smarter primary production; and One Health.

Innovation investment and priorities

The Centres agree with the recommendation for an increase in investment to support innovation and, particularly, the call for a greater focus on ensuring this meets the needs of the agri-food industry – for example to support the delivery of innovation onto farms more quickly. We are already delivering innovative solutions into the agri-food supply chain and we welcome the increased recognition of the need for this work.

National Food System Data Programme

The recommendation to establish a national food system data programme is significant in supporting comprehensive food system innovation as well as providing evidence to monitor the state of the system. As the report notes, establishing the infrastructure to deliver this has some significant challenges. With government support, Agrimetrics has put in place a data marketplace which provides the industry with the infrastructure necessary to share data in a transactional way incorporating multi-level permissioning.  Agri-EPI engages with focused precision-level data (including earth observation) on-farm, which also contributes to this recommendation.

Net Zero, meat and alternative protein

In our portfolio of innovation, the Centres are exploring novel methods for more accurately accounting for greenhouse gas emissions including CIEL’s work on novel approaches to methane reduction technologies. The Centres are already active in alternative proteins – for example, the incubation and growth of companies in insect protein and CHAP’s plant proteins work. We plan to expand this with our industry networks and partnerships, to provide more enhanced facilities, so we welcome this specific recommendation.