The challenges facing the agri-food industry need a collaborative approach to make real progress. By involving stakeholders from across the value-chain it is possible to develop sustainable solutions. This type of ‘Open Innovation’ was discussed at a Rothamsted forum which included a keynote from George Freeman MP about the government’s new industrial strategy.
A number of Agri-Tech East members presented:
- Aponic’s Jason Hawkins-Row, who has developed a soil-less growing system that enables urban farming
- Miha Pipan from Entomics, who is creating insect protein from food waste
- Will Wells from Hummingbird, who is developing algorithms for predicting crop disease before it damages crop performance
Delegates were then invited to propose what they considered to be the key challenges:
- 22% voted for tackling resistance to pesticides and antibiotics
- 15% for soil health
- 14% for data and how to use it
- 12% for how to grow more food and protect the environment
The focus groups then brainstormed these issues. Outcomes from the event are to be captured in a white paper by the Rothamsted Open Innovation Forum (ROIF).
Chris Dunkley, chief executive of Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise said: “It’s clear that adaptability and drive are requisite attributes for successful innovation, but there are also barriers to development, including lack of investment, an over-restrictive regulatory framework and, in some cases, poor public acceptance and understanding of new technology. By organising the Open Innovation Forum we wanted to bring people together to find answers to these barriers and solutions to the big questions facing the agri-food industry.”
For more information, visit roif.co.uk.