Competition reduces crop impact

Farmers could increase productivity and reduce environmental impact of crop production with technology being developed through a government sponsored competition.

The ‘New Approaches to Crop Protection’ funding competition will see investment of up to £13m by the Technology Strategy Board, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The investment will help fund the development of crop protection technologies, products and services that enable sustainable agricultural production and comply with forthcoming EU regulations.

‘This initiative aims to help meet new and existing EU regulations on the approval and use of pesticides – some widely used insecticides, fungicides and weed-control products are likely to lose their approval next year,’ said Paul Mason, the Technology Strategy Board’s head of development.

‘We are looking for proposals that will develop novel technologies, products and services that can be deployed across the crop growing supply chain.

‘This competition is particularly relevant to businesses in sectors such as arable crops, horticulture, grasses, forage crops and crops for biofuel and other non-food uses,’ he added.

The competition is the first initiative from the newly established Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform. The platform aims to bring government, business and researchers together to stimulate the development of technologies that will increase food productivity, while decreasing the environmental impact of the food and farming industries.

An investment of up to £75m will be created through this platform over the next five years to bring about innovative technological research and development in areas such as crop productivity, sustainable livestock production, waste reduction and management, and greenhouse gas reduction.