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Britain to boost agricultural innovation among universities, farms


The British government has designed a special fund to support agri-businesses and universities to bridge the gap between lab research and the marketplace.

The government funding comes from the 70-million-pound (115-million-U.S. dollar) Agri-Tech Catalyst” program announced last year, said the British Department for International Development (DFID).

As part of the British Industrial Strategy for Agricultural Technologies, the million-worth program including an urban farm and spin-outs from various universities in the country will share the funding from the government and industry to develop their innovative business ideas, the DFID said.

“This funding will make a real difference in bringing innovative ideas from the lab to the marketplace,” British Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said.

Some of the projects financed by the fund will look into new farming techniques, such as cultivation of seaweed, and focus on solving problems affecting farmers, including tackling a cattle disease that currently costs the dairy industry over 200 million pounds a year, according to the DFID.

Launched in October 2013, the “Agri-Tech Catalyst” program supports industry-led development of near-market agricultural innovations.

The 70-million-pound government investment includes 10 million pounds to support the transfer of technology and new products to developing countries, according to the DFID.

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