The Agricultural Engineers Association has branded the government’s £160m investment strategy for developing agricultural technology “very disappointing”.
Roger Lane-Nott, the director general of both the AEA and Milking Equipment Association, made the comments after the agri-tech strategy to invest more money in science and technology was launched two weeks ago.
“The fact that farm equipment was given a couple of small paragraphs was verging on insulting to an industry that has a turnover of nearly £4bn in the UK and is a fundamental part of agricultural production,” said Mr Lane-Nott.
“There was no sign of any commitment to improving either farm equipment R&D or applied research, and milking equipment was ignored altogether.”
“What’s more, the leadership council, which is supposed to deliver the strategy, does not have anyone from the farm equipment sector on it,” he said.
Mr Lane Nott welcomed some of the funding directed at research sites like the Norwich Research Park and the government’s early plans to establish a center for agricultural engineering.
But he says there was little space in the strategy for the farm or milking equipment sectors and suggested there is still a long way to go before agricultural engineering is properly recognized in the UK as a critical component in trying to deliver sustainable and affordable food.
The AEA’s response came just days after the Institution of Agricultural Engineers verdict on the investment plan, which said that the strategy seemed too weighted towards supporting new science rather than developing technology.
(Source – http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/05/08/2013/140360/163160m-agri-tech-strategy-39verging-on-insulting39.htm)