Food strategy targets production innovation

Feeding the Future report launched by academics on innovations needed for UK food production.

Two leading academics came together at last month's National Farm Management Conference to launch a draft industry strategy on the innovations needed for food production in the UK to 2030.

Funded by industry bodies, the Feeding the Future report makes seven recommendations for research and innovation priorities.

Its editor Professor Chris Pollock said: "The industry stands at a crossroads but I'm encouraged by the degree of coherent thought about the industry. UK agriculture first and foremost must remain a knowledge-based industry."

He was joined at the event by Professor Charles Godfray, author of The Foresight Report published two years ago that introduced the expression "sustainable intensification".

He described this strategy as "evidence-based and context-specific and involves picking the best from different approaches, be they high-tech, conventional, organic".

He added: "We need to invest in technology and be brave about the GM red rag. Whatever you care about - rural incomes, poverty or biodiversity - if we fail in food we fail in all of those things."

Defra undersecretary Lord de Mauley voiced his support for the report. "Innovation and development of technology are the keys to unlocking the potential of our farming industry to enable it to hold its own in a highly competitive world and to enhance its environmental performance," he added.

Feeding the Future Seven recommendations

1. Use modern technologies such as mapping, remote monitoring and application to improve precision and efficiency.

2. Apply modern genetic and breeding approaches to improve crop quality, sustainability, resilience and profitability.

3. Achieve better understanding and management of interactions between soil, water and crop.

4. Develop integrated approaches to pest and disease management.

5. Develop evidence-based approaches to ecosystem service delivery to support decision making at policy level.

6. Extend training and development of researchers and practitioners.

7. Disseminate scientific findings to boost uptake of best practice.


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