Fresh produce suppliers feature prominently in the latest tranche of Sainsbury's Agricultural Research & Development Grants.
Nine farming and fisheries projects, selected from 56 applications, were awarded funds totalling £1million at last week's Sainsbury's Farming Conference.
- Reducing the water footprint and increasing the shelf life of potted and cut herb production in the UK (University of Southampton, VHB, Vitacress);
- Including the yield of UK pears by optimising pollination (East Malling Research, AC Goatham & Son, GH Dean, Robert Mitchell Farms, Mason Bees);
- Pest-free organic brassicas (Northumbria University, Stockbridge Technology Centre, Biobest, Taylorgrown, Produce World Group, Burgess Farms);
- Improving supply continuity and prodcut quality for leeks (Harper Adams University, Precision Agronomy, Allpress Farms, AHDB).
Announcing the awards, director of Sainsbury's brand Judith Batchelar said: "I want to get 100 per cent of our fresh herbs grown in the UK. Improved pollination can bring a 5 per cent rise in pear yield, which means an extra month of sales of British pears.
"We want the best quality organic brassicas for as long as we can. And we can also extend the season for British leeks by six to eight weeks though improved frost protection and storage."
She added; "These projects are truly collaborative with industry, which the only way they can translate the science into production value."
Nine of the 13 projects awarded to last year will also continue for another year.