What Industrial Strategy Challenge are we leading?
Andy and I are the interim co-Directors for Transforming Food Production, which seeks to deliver a step change in the way we ensure the sustainable supply of food. We are facing a major societal challenge as the population increases and climate change introduces uncertainty and volatility in the food supply chain. We must therefore, improve resilience and productivity if our farmers and growers are to remain profitable and compete on the global stage.
This requires a new technology and data driven approach to our farming systems which will in turn creates significant opportunities for those who develop and adopt these new technologies. Never before have we had the opportunity to apply real precision into crop and animal production systems in a way that maximises resource use efficiency and safeguards the environment.
While driving productivity gains our focus will always ensure that we continue to deliver high quality, safe, nutritious, affordable food to all consumers.
Where have we come from?
We are both heavily involved with both the agriculture sector and the research environment. We have been working together ince 2010 when we first joined the respective teams from Innovate UK Then the Technology Strategy Board) and BBSRC in the delivery of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform. We continued that partnership with the advent of the AgriTech Strategy which has really helped rebuild capability in the UK with the development and launch of the 4 AgriTech Centres.
Calum has a background in both technical and business consultancy in the agricultural sector, as well as spending 15 years as a specialist in agricultural banking.
Andy comes from a research background in crop science and has been working at the interface between academia and business for a number of years. First within a university and then within BBSRC, leading the development of a number of collaborative research programmes.
What are our hopes for the Transforming Food Production Challenge going forward?
We are both agreed that the agricultural sector is one where we see huge opportunity for farmers and growers as well as those across the food supply chain. Here in the UK we have fantastic research capability, exceptional producers and a trusted for both quality, safety and indeed animal welfare. Our ambition is that we harness this enviable reputation to the benefit of our supply industry, our producers and indeed the economy. Together we can make a lasting and meaningful impact in the farming landscape while maintaining the integrity of the supply chain as a whole.
This challenge will help find new ways to maintain food supply but in a way that cuts pollution, safeguards our soils, minimises waste, protects air quality and our water supply. We will be able to deliver that high quality food with known provenance, while protecting biodiversity and animal welfare. Our producers will benefit, the rural and national economy will benefit and consumers can be confident that our food industry is class leading on a global scale.
All of this is possible if we work collectively and build on the investments that have been made in recent years.
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