CHAP is one of four Centres for Agricultural Innovation and a key component of the government’s Agri-Tech Strategy.
The simple fact is that climate change and a range of other factors including anticipated population growth and the degradation of ecosystems is making it increasingly difficult to meet the global demand for food in a sustainable way. To feed the growing world population, we must rely on increasing our crop yields. In turn, this will mean we need to make significant progress in both fundamental and applied science of plants, microbes and soils and including protection from economically damaging pests, pathogens & weeds.
CHAP is designed to make sure that the knowledge and insight from the UK’s science base is translated into benefits for farmers, growers and the food industry both at home and abroad. The government and industry believe that wider adoption of science and technological innovation is the key to unlocking the potential of farming by improving productivity and tackling problems such as soil erosion, adapting to climate change, managing the impact of pests and diseases, depleting natural resources, and providing environmentally friendly solutions.
As many of you will be aware, I joined CHAP in July this year to take forward the business development phase. Unlike John, I am not a farmer but I am passionate about improving the output of the UK agriculture-food industry and how science and technology can support that. As you will see from John’s contribution in this newsletter, we have a huge opportunity to change the fundamental landscape of farming in the UK and embrace new technology/ideas that will not only improve productivity and reduce waste, but also create a sustainable farming industry to ensure that future generations can continue to grow crops in what will undoubtedly be a very different world.
Over the past couple of months my team has focussed on working with our partners on the delivery of a number of capabilities that can be used in collaboration to help transform the UK agriculture sector. These include initiating the construction of the e-flows mesocosm up at Fera in Sand Hutton, York, commissioning of our soil health unit facility at Cranfield University and moving forward with our Biopesticide screening facility at Stockbridge Technology Centre. Our crop storage facility at AHDB in Sutton Bridge is now filling up with a number of studies looking at the impact of post-harvest storage, and our Fine Phenotyping Unit at Rothamsted Research has successfully undertaken pilot studies and steadily building a pipeline of projects to drive forward this novel capability. Our mobile laboratories are moving around the country and if you see one at an event, exhibition or farm, please do pay a visit. The CHAP team will be delighted to show you around.
I am hugely excited about being part of this exciting opportunity to make a difference. I appeal to you to get involved, whichever part of the farm to fork sector you are from. CHAP is open to everyone. We want to know what your priorities are so that we can take these ideas to our science base to find solutions, using our state of the art facilities. CHAP is about collaboration. Collaboration with industry and collaboration between our partners. That is what makes us unique. To find out more about what we are doing please go to our website www.chap-solutions.co.uk
Cobrey Farms is a family partnership of John Chinn, his wife Gay and their sons Henry and Christopher.
Chetan spent over 9 years at Intertek Group plc in a number of senior leadership positions.
Chief Executive of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming).
Technical Director of Morning Foods group of companies.
At Capita with Fera Science Ltd, Andrew is responsible for all aspects of Fera’s business.
Having studied agriculture, trained as an agronomist and achieved BASIS and FACTS qualifications, Charlie began his career with UAM at Redhill in 1984.
Dr Ian Campbell is Director for Health and Life Sciences at Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
Mark is an experienced civil servant having worked for BEIS and its predecessors including the DTI for more than twenty years.
Ian joined Innovate UK in March 2015 as Innovation Lead, Agri-Tech Centres within the Agri-Food team.