Agri-Tech strategy helps create £21.3m CHAP

A new £21.3m Centre for Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) was launched on 24 March under the government's Agri-Tech strategy, bringing together expertise from research organisations and companies in the sector with the aim of giving farmers access to the best and most sustainable technologies and strategies to improve crop performance.

Funded over four years, CHAP will be headquartered at the National Agri-Food Innovation campus at Sand Hutton near York. Consortium partners include Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, Tesco, Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC), AHDB, CABI, Cranfield University, Fera Science, Newcastle University, The Met Office, Warwick University and Rothamsted Research.

Interim CHAP chief executive Dr Andrew Swift said: "It will create an environment that encourages the exchange of leading edge knowledge, resulting in greater innovation and wider access to the best available technologies and solutions. By taking science to the farm, CHAP will help farmers, growers and the food industry to improve yield, reduce costs and meet the need for sustainable solutions to present and future challenges."

STC science director Dr Martin McPherson told HW: "We are fully involved as a Core Partner, which is excellent news for the horticultural sector. We should be able to get renewed focus on crop health and plant protection, pulling in skills, expertise and facilities through collaborative working with other CHAP partners."

He added: "It will certainly be important for us to get involved in various R&D projects going forward and as an Applied R&D and Demonstration Centre, STC is in an ideal position to promote new technologies and encourage early adoption by industry. There are exciting times ahead."

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