New research and development will help secure future supply of meat, fish and animal feed

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The Technology Strategy Board (http://www.innovateuk.org) - in collaboration with fellow partners in the Global Food Security Programme, Defra, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Scottish Government - is to invest nearly £16 million in twenty-nine major new collaborative research and development projects that will help to secure the sustainable supply of protein such as meat, fish and animal feed.

New research and development will help secure future supply of meat, fish and animal feed

The Technology Strategy Board (http://www.innovateuk.org) - in collaboration with fellow partners in the Global Food Security Programme, Defra, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Scottish Government - is to invest nearly £16 million in twenty-nine major new collaborative research and development projects that will help to secure the sustainable supply of protein such as meat, fish and animal feed. A sustainable supply of such protein, for consumption by humans and animals, is essential for future food security.

The projects include innovative research and development in areas such as improving protein supply and utilisation from grassland, improving protein production from beef cattle while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing protein supply from arable crops, addressing key issues in aquaculture to improve production efficiency and investigating alternative high protein sources for animal feed.

Jim Paice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, said:
“As demand for food grows across the world there’ll be more and more opportunities for British     farmers across domestic and foreign markets. These innovative projects will help the industry produce meat and fish more efficiently, boosting both economic growth and food security.”

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, Richard Lochhead, said:
“Our investment in this partnership will boost the Scottish agriculture and food industry and benefit the Scottish science base. At the same time it will further stimulate wider business innovation in Scotland.

“This funding capitalises on our scientific strengths and helps meet our objective in supporting food producers and suppliers in order to feed our country - and the world - in the coming years. Our research institutes have much to offer the rest of the UK and in the international arena. The Scottish Government recognises the crucial role that research and scientists can make in meeting these global challenges.”

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added:
“While global demand for animal products increases, demand for vegetable proteins as animal     feedstock also rises, while in the UK we face a shortfall in vegetable protein production. Relying on imports poses both supply and economic risks, so developing sustainable protein production in the UK, resulting in an increase in sustainable supplies of both vegetable and animal protein, will ensure that these concerns are addressed.”

Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC said:
“Food security is not just about producing more food, it is about providing sufficient nutrition. Protein is vital to health and wellbeing and a shift towards higher consumption of meat and fish across the world is posing an additional challenge to aquaculture, and livestock and poultry production. Simply cramming more animals into existing production infrastructure will never be the answer and these projects will provide smart solutions that allow us to increase the availability of protein whilst ensuring sustainability and high standards of animal welfare.”

The projects, which are all business-led, will focus on one or both of the following interrelated areas:    

  • Increasing the domestic supply of sustainably produced vegetable protein for feeding farmed animals, including land and marine based aquaculture, and
  • Increasing the efficiency of production and sustainability of domestically supplied animal and fish protein for food.

The Technology Strategy Board will invest a total of £7.9 million in the projects while Defra will provide funding totalling £5 million. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will contribute £2.5 million to ten of the projects while the Scottish Government will provide support worth £500,000 to seven projects.

The companies leading the projects are:
AB Agri Ltd (2 projects), Agrovista UK Ltd, Barenbrug UK Ltd, Beef Improvement Grouping Ltd, Bernard Matthews Ltd, Birchgrove Eggs, Carbon Sequestration Ltd, Dalehead Foods Limited, Embedded Technology Solutions Ltd, Eminate Ltd, EWOS Ltd, Faire Ltd, Farm Energy & Control Services Ltd, Germinal Holdings, H.R. Fell & Sons Ltd, JSR Genetics (2 projects), Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd, Marks and Spencer plc, National Milk Records plc, Paragonvet Ltd, Pfizer Ltd, Phytoquest Ltd, St Helen's Farm, Velcourt Ltd, Wherry & Sons Ltd (2 projects) and Yara UK Ltd.

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Nick Sheppard
Technology Strategy Board
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