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UK horticulture sector – research targets and needs, roles of collaborative R&D Horticulture - Fruit R&D Overview Christopher Atkinson, HoS East Malling.

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Presentation on theme: "UK horticulture sector – research targets and needs, roles of collaborative R&D Horticulture - Fruit R&D Overview Christopher Atkinson, HoS East Malling."— Presentation transcript:

1 UK horticulture sector – research targets and needs, roles of collaborative R&D Horticulture - Fruit R&D Overview Christopher Atkinson, HoS East Malling Research All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture

2 Land-based industry, science and technology (‘EMR industry owned’ since 1913) Germplasm collections - Functional genomics Plants Evaluation Fingerprinting Molecular markers Shelf-life Environment stress P&D resistance Growing systems Drivers Government policy EU legislation Climate change Diet and health Drivers Protecting the environment Food production/security Reduction of waste Industry economics Agronomy and nutrition Minimising waste Cropping systems P&D Irrigation scheduling Organic production Novel crops Extension/Consultancy Added value EM Commercial New varieties Insect pheromones Improved varieties High health fruit Drivers Customer policy Economics ‘EMR commercial’ Support for EMR Science BASIC STRATEGIC APPLIED

3 EMR’s financial history Pre-independence income 2003 £4.8 million (2.8 Defra) Independent from Defra 2004 6-year Guarantee of contracts from Defra (2007/8 - £2.4 million - 2010 £0) Major customers in 2009 – Defra (57%), commercial (13%), Hort. Devel. Comp. (12%), East Malling Trust for Horticultural Research (11%) Horticulture-LINK funding - £130k to £780k p.a. (18 projects) New sources of revenue: non-science income up from £700k to £1,260k p.a.

4 Why is fruit R&D important? Healthy diets 5-a-day campaign, ‘Food dudes’, diet related heart disease, cancers, obesity, diabetes, NHS rising costs Poor level of fruit consumption generally 10% home grown supply and falling UK Food security/supply/sustainability Climate change – challenges/opportunities

5 EMR impacts – variety development Released 47 fruit tree rootstocks, 22 apple scion var., 4 pears, 2 plums, 3 cherries, 10 hops, 24 raspberries, 28 strawberries, and others Resistance to diseases and pests or low ‑ input or organic systems Developed the first genetic map for strawberry (Fragaria) using transferable molecular markers Genomic understanding for Prunus, apple, strawberry and raspberry EMR has pioneered molecular route to identify floral incompatibility in Prunus and apple Sales of EMR strawberry var. currently average 20 million plants per annum

6 EMR impacts – crop protection Pest and disease resistance crop varieties Development and evaluation of alternative and novel pest and diseases control strategies Predictive pest and disease forecasting models Delivery of minimal pesticide dose Residue free food products Development and delivery of grower best practice

7 EMR impacts – crop irrigation Water savings of 85% ‘Low risk’ scheduling strategies Targeted nutrition reduced environmental pollution Improved product quality from deficit irrigation Manipulating fruit nutrition Enhanced shelf-life Understanding control and stress induced plant responses Reduced pesticide use

8 EMR impacts – waste reduction Increasing the % of Class 1 fruit Breeding varieties Growing systems (nutrition/irrigation) Minimising pest and disease damage Application of technology Reducing losses post-harvest Management of ripening Control atmosphere storage Reducing impact of pathogens Consumers Improved home based storage Better consumer advice Working with retailers

9 ‘LINK type’ funding a good model for collaborative R&D ? Some EMR - LINK statistics Attracts financial support from industry (direction and participation) HDC input £172k (in 2009) Total current HDC input £849k Total current value £8.8 million (cash £5.7 million) Allows for the development of consortia of stakeholders 33 grower partners 82 non-grower industry partners 22 science/academic partnerships

10 What are the positives and negatives of current LINK Positives Industry lead programmes (to a point) Solves commercial/business problems Includes strategic underpinning elements of science Potential to bring together business and all the research community Realistic time frames and deliverables Flexible interactive development of R&D during the project Negatives Proposal preparation comes at a significant cost which is not claimable The funding process in considered slow (industry) Mixture of industry and science deliverables (challenge) Requires significant industry funds Universal problem of parties with vested interests What is the future? Ps. TSB Sustainable Agriculture and Food, initiative – ‘New Approaches to Crop Protection’

11 Key challenges for the future Crop protection Water availability, it use and efficiency Fertiliser use and efficiency (particularly nitrogen and phosphorus) Waste reduction (throughout the supply chain) Climate change (opportunities) Energy supply and use (alternatives, biomass, biochar etc) Labour availability and reducing labour costs

12 Conclude – issues and priorities? Key points UK ‘Food industry’ R&D is good, value for money and is required Decline in university agricultural/horticulture research Training, skills and expertise, all stages and levels - setting up funding incentives? Joined-up R&D, BBSRC, Defra, HDC – getting there? Balance/flow of R&D, basic – strategic – applied (delivery to consumers) Long-term research investment in programmes Resources required – capital investment (government) Production efficiency - research elements Suitability of TSB as effective HortLINK replacement?


14 Enhancing the quality of hardy nursery stock and sustainability of the industry through novel water-saving techniques (HL0168) Denton Automation Ltd.

15 Developing biocontrol methods and their integration in sustainable pest and disease management in plum and cherry production (HL0189) Brown rots Aphids Light brown apple moth Plum fruit moth IPDM programme Damson hop aphid sex pheromone (cis-cis nepetalactol) Collaborators: NRI, Uni. Kent and Chem Ecology

16 Development of physiological and agronomic tools for increasing the L-ascorbic acid (AsA) yield from blackcurrant bushes (MRS/003/02)

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