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Fresh produce R&D wins £12m boost

New funding released by Defra will boost nine horticultural agri-tech projects support growth in agri-science sector

Fresh produce R&D wins £12m boost

Two of the winning projects will look at optimising strawberry growth without soil

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Several fresh produce research projects will receive £12.1 million in government funding, it has been announced.

Out of the 15 agri-tech Catalyst Award winner, nine are within horticulture and five are specifically centred around fresh produce.

Defra said the funding will help support growth in the agricultural science and technology sectors in the UK.

The winning horticulture agri-tech projects were:

- ‘New strawberries optimised for growing without soil’, run by East Malling Research, Agrovista, Botanicoir, CPM Retail and Sainsbury’s.

- ‘Antimicrobial technology to control disease in potato production’, run by, Advanced Pest Solutions, Agrico, Branston, McCain Food, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) and Scottish Agronomy.

- ‘Using light to extend the shelf-life of fresh produce’, run by Finlay Flowers, Adas, Lambda Photometrics, May Barn Horticultural Consultancy, North Bank Growers, Nutricycle, University of Nottingham and Wight Salads Group.

- ‘An automated system for precision application of fertiliser and plant growth compounds’, run by Growhow, Adas, Chris Harry-Thomas Consulting, Hill Court Farm Research, Patchwork Technology, Precise Crop Nutrition and Syngenta.

- ‘Developing technology for an organic natural based pesticide’, run by Hockley International, Almac Sciences and Bangor University.

- ‘Improving efficiency and reducing environmental harm of fertiliser production’, run by ITM Power, BPE Design and Support, Fera, University of Sheffield and Waitrose.

- ‘Increasing the efficiency and quality of strawberries grown without soil’, PlantWorks, Agrovista, Berry Gardens and East Malling Research.

- ‘Protecting peas and beans from beetles without blanket insecticide spraying’, run by Processors and Growers Research Organisation, BASF, Exosect, Oecos and Rothamsted Research.

- ‘Optimising “big data” to drive improvements in crop production and utilisation’, run by Produce World and Cranfield University.

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