With the UK's tomato and cucumber shortage being highly visible in supermarkets, it was well timed for the appropriately named Mark Spencer to announce £168 million in funding for the agritech sector for driving adoption of new technologies in the sector. The grants, when finalised later this year, are intended to be made available through the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) and the Farming Investment Fund (FIF) – which will sit alongside the Environmental land management (ELM) schemes, and will help with the purchasing of equipment.
Seeking to focus on ‘practical solutions that advance food productivity and deliver significant environmental and animal welfare benefits’, we can expect to see a wide range of projects moving forwards with the help of these grants, as there should be a greater opportunity when it comes to sales.
There are many impressive start-ups working on new equipment, robots and AI technology that assist throughout the whole agriculture sector. This can be in animal welfare, such as robotic milking equipment or animal health tracking, or more simply devices for in-field entertainment of the animals, such as the back-scratcher seen in Amazon's "Clarksons Farm". It can also be in arable, through the whole plant cycle, from seed drilling, fertiliser, pesticide and herbiside spraying, through to weeding, harvesting, sorting and packing. It can also be in energy efficiencies or decarbonisation, through methane capture and use, alternative energy capture on farm building rooftops, and soil improvement technologies to reduce carbon loss, for example through the use of less intensive or lighter machinery and cover crops.
Our agritech team has a passion for all green technologies, and we look forward to assisting you wherever needed. Hopefully these grants will also be able to assist you to meet sales targets!