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Agri-Tech Week to highlight innovation

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 August 2014

Belinda Clarke

Belinda Clarke


Within the foreseeable future, if agricultural productivity does not increase, we might have insufficient land to feed our growing population. This was the chilling finding of a report The Best Use of UK Agricultural Land issued earlier this year.

The report concluded that global demand now means that the UK cannot rely on imports to make up its shortfall and should urgently consider how it can get more food, from the same land, without impacting the environment. The report concluded that developments in agri-tech could hold some of the solutions.

As the leading UK region for agricultural production and innovation we are rising to this challenge and asking ‘what do we need to do to deliver on this?’

It is increasingly apparent that a starting point is to improve communication and understanding between all the parties. There is no point in developing a new variety of high performing wheat under perfect laboratory conditions if millers are unconvinced of its value and farmers are uncertain how it will perform under challenging conditions.

There needs to be a pull for new approaches as well as a push. To better understand the requirements of all players and accelerate innovation, Agri-Tech East has been working behind the scenes to bring together farmers and growers with researchers, plant breeders, processors, technologists, engineers, entrepreneurs and investors.

And we have been pushing on an open door, the mood and the appetite for change is apparent.

This ground swell of interest has culminated in the idea of Agri-Tech Week, which has the support of two of the UK’s pre-eminent agricultural associations: the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) and the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA).

Agri-Tech Week, November 8 to 16, will feature three major events aimed at exploring the emerging innovations and gaining input and perspectives from everyone involved in the food production process.

There will be a strong technology theme for the SAA annual conference entitled ‘Innovation for Agriculture’ on November 11. Executive Director of SAA Christopher Bushby said: “The association is delighted to be among the partners driving forward the first Agri-Tech Week.”

In Cambridge Agri-Tech East will be hosting the REAP (Realising Economic and Agricultural Potential) Conference on November 12 and will shortly be announcing an exciting interactive format for this event.

This will be followed by the RNAA Thought-leadership Seminar on November 13 at the Norwich Research Park at which a panel of experts will discuss the challenges of bringing science into practice.

Greg Smith, Chief Executive of RNAA said the association is delighted to be part of the UK’s first Agri-Tech Week. “As Norfolk’s leading agricultural voice we felt it was essential we were part of an initiative that demonstrates an innovative and collaborative approach across the region.”

More information about Agri-Tech Week is available at

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