Julian questions Ministers on support for farming science and technology
September 15, 2016
Julian, recently appointed Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture, this week asked Ministers about their plans to support agri-food research, and highlighted its important contribution to innovation across the regions of the UK.
In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Julian asked the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark “The success of our agricultural industry is dependent on the latest innovations in agricultural science and technology driven forward by world-leading research centres like FERA, on the outskirts of York. What assurance can the Minister give that agri-food research will continue to play an important role in the government’s overall strategy for supporting innovation and ultimately delivering food security?”
Responding, Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, said, “This government is investing £160 million in agri-tech, including in centres for agricultural innovation, to ensure that our world-leading science is improving productivity on farms. In addition, a UK-wide food innovation network, which is to be launched very shortly, will give businesses greater access to technology and science.”
Julian said “I was pleased to hear that supporting agricultural science and technology remains an important part of the government’s overall plan for innovation in the UK.
The £160 million government investment will be very useful in helping the UK retain its competitive edge in this sector, and the new national food innovation network will greatly assist farming businesses across the regions of the UK.
Maintaining our agri-tech industry is important both for innovation and economic growth, and for national security through the contribution it makes to safeguarding our food supply. I am proud to support a government which understands the significance of this vital sector”.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group exists to explore how the latest advances in technology and science can be applied to British farming, and in particular how they can help UK agriculture meet the challenges of food security, climate change and resource protection. These questions are all the more important in light of Britain’s impending exit from the EU, and the major choices this will mean for UK farmers.