Agri-food specialists welcome budget funding for automation which "could benefit horticulture"

Funding of £270 million promised in last week's Budget for biotech and automation research has been cautiously welcomed by centres researching their application to production horticulture.

Prof. Simon Pearson - Image:HW
Prof. Simon Pearson - Image:HW

University of Lincoln professor of agri-food technology Simon Pearson told HW: "We were delighted to hear the Chancellor's announcement in the budget of support for robotics.

"It is a key emerging and enabling technology which will have a significant impact in the horticulture sector for many years to come, given the need to drive productivity and difficulties many growers are having in finding labour."

He added: "The details of the budget announcement are not yet clear and whether horticulture can exploit this tranche of funding. However, we welcome the recognition of the importance of robotics for the UK industrial sector."

A representative of Harper Adams University, home to the newly established, government-funded the Agri-EPI Centre project, said: "It’s welcome investment, but we will have to wait and see how the funding is distributed."

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