Wednesday, 4 April 2012

15 million reasons to be cheerful

The food and farming sector’s capacity to drive the economy forward is something many of us in the industry have recognised for some time.

As with any industry though, the more help you get along the way, the better, which is why the Government’s decision to inject up to £15 million in new research and development projects and studies that will stimulate innovation and growth in the UK's food industries couldn’t be more timely.

Outlining the move, Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice cited the UK’s world class reputation for innovation and his desire to take that strength and use it to the economic advantage of the whole country.

Up to £15 million will be invested in major research and development projects to develop cutting edge ideas that increase efficiency and reduce waste in farming, food and drink production and manufacturing. This is an area familiar to EBLEX and one it has already been extensively involved in, not least with the recent publication of Down to Earth - The beef and sheep roadmap phase 3, which included a section dedicated to waste in the supply chain and on-farm efficiency.

The beef and lamb sector forms a crucial part of the economy and there are some fantastic opportunities for it to cultivate more opportunities for the export of goods and services to the wider global agri-food industry. This has been underlined by the publication of the independent Real Value of Red Meat Economic Analysis. The report concluded it is estimated that the net economic contribution of the English red meat industry is £1.67 billion and has been circulated to MPs and peers. Clearly, the issue’s importance is moving up the wider political agenda which is encouraging for the industry.

As the Minister said: “By getting businesses innovating and enhancing the UK's reputation as a world class pioneer of new production and manufacturing techniques, the food and farming sector can be a real engine for growth."

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