Welcome to edition four of Clima, the thought leadership series brought to you by IGS. This month we are looking closer to home and our Scottish roots, with a focus on the evolving agriculture and food production sectors in the UK. With the impacts of COVID raising new areas of challenge, and indeed opportunity, there also remains the implications of Brexit which is fast approaching in early 2021.
Evolution is inevitable but innovation is key. This is a concept that is far from alien for those operating in traditional agricultural environments, however there is a real and growing need for the pace of that innovation to change to match ever-increasing demands on resources. As a result, interest in the agritech movement is gaining considerable momentum. Going forwards, it will be vital that the UK’s agricultural ecosystem encompasses many types of food production: from large arable or livestock agricultural farms to small rooftop greenhouses and many more iterations in between. Technology will have a substantial role to play, bringing with it the ability to have greater control over growing, enhance efficiencies, reduce reliance on labour and ultimately create new and exciting opportunities to move the sector forward for both traditional and emerging approaches to agriculture.
In this edition, we have talked to Mark Horler, Chair of UK Urban AgriTech (UKUAT), to hear about the growing interest in this approach to growing and the increased desire for collaboration across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Mark’s experience in the agritech sector is well established and broadly covers local, European and international perspectives. He offers an exciting and opportunity-filled view of how agritech can, and indeed will, evolve.
We also are very pleased to welcome David Swales, Head of Strategic Insight at the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). From the vantage point of an organisation based in the UK and focused on supporting and championing farmers and growers, David considers the impacts of COVID on the sector as well as the resultant trends and issues that need to be addressed. With a very keen eye on the Brexit negotiations, he also shares his thoughts on the need for innovation in the sector to address anticipated challenges and take advantage of opportunities.
Through Clima, our aim is to share a broad range of thought-provoking, relevant and innovative perspectives across our network and beyond. We hope that you find this latest edition interesting and would welcome your feedback.
David Farquhar, CEO, IGS