Environment Secretary Ranil Jayawardena will go to the Netherlands next week (10 October) to study the Dutch model of high-tech greenhouses and vertical farming, according to the FPC. “Our Dutch neighbours are experts in glasshouse growing, so I want to see how we can expand this sector back home and grow more outstanding British produce,” Jayawardena is reported as saying.
Nigel Jenney, FPC chief executive, commented: “We can’t afford to be complacent and should grasp the opportunity to evolve and grow. The FPC has worked with its members to develop innovative new solutions for the industry,” he said.
“They lie in making agriculture ‘smarter’ by developing and adopting the new technologies and innovations that can dramatically enhance productivity and reduce its high labour demand and by making the various sectors more attractive to a new generation.
“FPC has been pro-actively looking at new ways to bridge the disconnect between the next generation of agricultural and horticultural workers and the perception of the industry as a whole and we believe we’ve found some vital solutions,” he explained.
“There needs to be a fundamental shift in the perception and overall infrastructure of our food supply system.
“We believe in educating the industry about how both agriculture and horticulture can be made smarter through the incorporation of technologies such as AI, IoT, robotics and automation, along with the development of new growing systems and practices, all designed to promote long term sustainability,” Jenney continued.
With this in mind, the consortium launched free-to-attend industry event FPC Future last year, he said.
”FPC Future has proven itself to be the agritech event for the fresh produce and flower industry and will house an exhibition, conferences, working displays and tours,” FPC regulations and communications manager Kelly Shields said.
”This much-needed event will educate and showcase all that is new right now, as well as exploring what the future promises. Visitors will be able see how new technologies can help them become more efficient, increase productivity and help their workforce,” she said.