The collaboration has been arranged through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), a Government-funded programme designed to accelerate business innovation by linking companies with higher and further education institutions.
Produce World, based in Peterborough, identified sustainable soil management as a key component of its future strategy. The KTP project will enable it to develop a business-wide soil information and risk management system to help it address food security issues, resource protection and sustainability across its fresh produce supply chain.
According to Produce World agricultural director Andrew Burgess, a greater understanding of this area will lead to significant environmental and business benefits throughout the supply chain.
He said: "Soil is such a valuable living resource and is vital to the health of crops and people. We are fully supporting this innovative research to ensure that we steward our soils for future generations."
KTP regional adviser Philippa Ryan added: "This is an excellent example of KTP in action," she said. "Four funding organisations have supported this project, which demonstrates the value they see in the potential outcomes."
The work will be undertaken by KTP associate Guy Thallon, a graduate in soil management from Cranfield University.
He said: "We need to collate a wide range of datasets to produce a comprehensive and effective decision support tool."
He continued: "I'm very excited to be working on such an important soil research project which will provide a very significant data source for both Produce World and Cranfield University."
- For further details on the KTP programme, see www.ktponline.org.uk or call the KTP helpline on 0870 190 2829.