Harnden has 30 years' experience in the business and is well-known across the industry for his passion, expertise, dedication and enthusiasm for the subject, thanks to his background as a grower and plant propagator.
He has served on a wide range of industry bodies as a technical expert and has been a Berry Gardens employee for more than 15 years - most recently in the more general role of technical development director.
Berry Gardens managing director Nicholas Marston said: "We are keen to benefit from Richard's huge knowledge and experience in the areas of research and technology by allowing him to focus his time and enthusiasm on both the gathering of information on a global scale and also the clear and effective dissemination of this.
"There are great gains to be made for us as a group if we can maximise the effective uptake of new technology. This takes time and focus."
Marston continued: "Richard will have a key role in ensuring that Berry Gardens and our growers remain at the forefront of the UK industry in terms of new technologies involved in production, the environmentally responsible and effective treatment of pests and disease and our varietal offer, especially in the area of new crops and products."