A new agritech partnership is launching in Gloucestershire to encourage growth and innovation in the sector.
The Gloucestershire Agri-Tech Partnership is a collaboration between the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst LEP; the food science and technology consultancy, Campden BRI; Hartpury University and College’s Agriculture Agri-tech Centre and Tech Box Park; the Royal Agricultural University’s Farm 491; and the University of Gloucestershire’s Countryside & Community Research Group (CCRI).
Dev Chakraborty, Deputy Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, said: “It’s fantastic that Gloucestershire’s centres of excellence in agri-tech are working together to showcase to the world what we can offer; attracting exciting growing firms to the county and supporting the expansion of firms already here”
Together, they are aiming to advertise the sector, which was valued at nearly £1.5 billion prior to the pandemic, and its capabilities to start-ups and high growth businesses across the globe with the hope of drawing new technology-driven businesses into the area.
It will also look to find opportunities to foster growth and innovation in businesses across the wider UK along with those already established in the region, which relies on the sector for 50,000 jobs.
A key part of its offering is the opportunity for companies to trial their new products and services on demonstration farms and various incubators. This, along with tailored business plan development, financial access and investment support is hoped to encourage innovation and growth.
To promote the opportunities on offer to agri-tech firms in the county, Invest In Gloucestershire recently created a themed agri-tech proposition, which, among others, points to technology incubator hub, Farm 491, the Tech Box Park at Hartpury University and College, and the repository of expertise and research at Campden BRI and the CCRI.
Ben Thompson, Agri-Tech Centre Manager for Hartpury University and Hartpury College, said: “Hartpury are delighted to join the Gloucestershire Agri-Tech Partnership, a mutually passionate group driven to help shape the future of digital farming and drive productivity and competitiveness in the agricultural and land-based industries across the region.
“Together, as part of the new partnership, Hartpury look forward to collectively fostering innovation and growth in Gloucestershire.”
Sarah Carr, Head of Farm 491, said: “Forming this group has already been so valuable in sharing ideas and resources. We have some exciting plans in the pipeline which will further add to the county’s offering of business support to Agri-Tech businesses.”
Meeting bi-monthly, the group has already found areas for it to look into, including collaboration with the county’s cyber platform, CYNAM, to work on issues in cyber security.
A Memorandum of Understanding has also been jointly signed with the key aims of the group to share knowledge and expertise that will ultimately lead to growth and expansion of the agri-tech sector in Gloucestershire.