According to an update on the Government’s £270 million Farming Innovation Programme, which is run in partnership with UK Research and Innovation, exciting new projects will drive innovation in agriculture and horticulture.

Some of the research and development projects that will receive funding through the programme include Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimise welfare in pig farms, agri-robots to help speed up vegetable harvests, and automation to increase fruit crop yields.

The Government claims that the £16.5 million of funding, which supports the next rounds of the Feasibility Projects and Small R&D Partnership Project competitions due to open shortly, will help farmers and growers to increase food production, encourage sustainable practices and increase productivity.

Farmers, growers, foresters, businesses and researchers are being invited to collaborate and submit applications for two new competitions, which comprise of a £5.5 million competition for Feasibility projects and the Small R&D partnership competition.

Those successful in applying for the Feasibility projects will receive grants for projects worth between £200,000 and £500,000 to support research and development through the testing phase of an idea to see if it is worth investing in further.

Meanwhile, winners of the Small R&D Partnership will receive a share of the £11 million grant funding for industrial research projects worth between £1 million and £3 million.

As Farming Innovation Minister Steve Double commented, this first round of projects demonstrates how, with the right funding and support, there are great productivity and environmental sustainability gains to be made.

Echoing the Minister’s words, a spokeswoman for the Transforming Food Production Challenge said that the whole food system can benefit from new ideas, with knowledge-sharing and collaboration at its core.

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Posted in Agriculture, Blog.