7th October 2015, London
Report by Andy Powell, KTN
The UK's space, food and agriculture industries met in London in October 2015 to assess how space technology can better support future global food and agricultural production. ‘Satellites for Agri-Food' highlighted how the British farming industry, food manufacturers and producers can access multi-million pound grants to deliver new ideas for increasing production efficiency using satellite and space technology.
It brought together over 150 businesses, entrepreneurs, academics and funders to address current and future challenges, such as climate change, data translation and food security, facing the agriculture and food sectors. Hosted by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), its purpose was to encourage new collaborative projects to apply for funding in Innovate UK's latest £3.75 million competition. Grants of £18 million (€25 million) are also available through the European Horizon 2020 agriculture programme.
Dr David Telford, knowledge transfer manager for agriculture with KTN, commented that the United Nations predicted food production will need to increase by 70 per cent to cope with a world population expected to reach more than nine billion by 2020. "This will be a major challenge for the global food system which will have to balance demand with sustainable supplies, as well as meeting the challenges of a low emissions world and maintaining biodiversity," he said.
Keston Williams, technical director of south coast-based semi-exotic produce specialist Barfoots, highlighted the possibilities that driver-less tractors and greater data connectivity could bring to the food sectors and encouraged the industry to "delve into the world of space". Simon Baty, knowledge transfer manager for food with KTN, described the event as about "seizing the opportunity" of collaboration. "It is through collaboration that companies will be able to grow more and sell more by adding value," he said.
Click on links below to download presentations:
Satellites to improve agri-food systems - Innovate UK. Open to all companies involved in the food, agriculture and space industries. Projects must be collaborative and business-led. Registration deadline: 17 Feb 2016. Application deadline: 24 Feb 2016.