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Environment Secretary commits to sustainable horticulture growth

Plans to boost home grown fruit and vegetable production and drive the growth of high-tech horticulture have been set out today by Environment Secretary Ranil Jayawardena, as part of HM Government’s work to unleash the potential of British farming.

Glasshouse growing, a form of Controlled Environment Horticulture, has multiple economic, food security and sustainability benefits, but the sector currently represents only 10% of English horticultural businesses.


It means the United Kingdom only grows 25% of the cucumbers and 17% of the tomatoes supplied domestically, however businesses operating with this model are already reaping benefits – from extended growing seasons, efficient water usage and higher yields per square metre.


To kickstart efforts to grow the horticulture sector and boost domestic production, the Environment Secretary today committed a further £12.5m investment in automation and robotics through the Farming Innovation Programme on top of more than £70 million spent so far on industry-led research and development.


The fund opens in January with ‘UK Research and Innovation’ (UKRI) and will match-fund projects that will drive economic growth, food security and deliver on environmental commitments. Previous funded projects have included fruit scouting robots, automated vegetable harvesters and new types of fertiliser.


Source: Gov.uk

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