Artificial Intelligence technology to optimise welfare in pigs, agri-robots to help speed up vegetable harvests and automation to increase fruit crop yields are just some of research and development projects to receive funding through the Farming Innovation Programme, Defra announced this week.
The CLA has been continually calling for further support from the government for farmers and growers. New measures to help with food production, encouraging sustainable practices and increasing productivity are welcome at this time when domestic food security is vitally important.
The £16.5 million of funding will help drive innovation in agriculture and horticulture and is part of the Government’s £270m Farming Innovation Programme. Altogether Defra expects to spend around £600m on grants and other support for farmers to invest in productivity, animal health and welfare, innovation, research and development over the next three years.
It is critical that government continues to work closely with farmers so that we can continuously improve our ability to feed the nation and protect the natural environment
Commenting on the news, CLA President, Mark Tufnell, said: “It is encouraging to see Defra allocate an additional £16.5m as part of the Farming Innovation Programme to drive new research and development. The Farming Innovation Programme is vital in supporting farmers who are striving to improve productivity and sustainability - particularly at a time when the resilience of our domestic food supply is being brought into sharp focus.
Mark closed by saying that there is still much more work for policy makers to do in the future by saying: "Although £600m of various packages and grants over the next three years is a step in the right direction, it is critical that government continues to work closely with farmers so that we can continuously improve our ability to feed the nation and protect the natural environment.”