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Satellites for Agri-Food

Space technology is already used to monitor crops and livestock with pinpoint accuracy, to optimise food transport and stocks and to improve communications.

It has great potential to boost food production to meet the growing demands of a world population predicted to reach more than nine billion by 2050. To feed this bigger population, global food production will need to increase by 70%. The UK’s space, food and agriculture industries met in London in October to assess how space technology can better support future global food and agricultural production. The event, ‘Satellites for Agri-Food’, was hosted by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and highlighted how the British  farming industry, food manufacturers and producers can access grants to deliver new ideas for increasing production efficiency using satellite and space technology. The aim was to encourageapplications for funding in Innovate UK’s atest £3.75 million competition. Grants of £18 million (€25 million) are also available through the European Horizon 2020 agriculture programme.

Keston Williams, Technical Director of south coast-based semi-exotic produce specialist Barfoots, highlighted the benefits that driver-less tractors and greater data connectivity could bring to the food sector and encouraged the industry to ‘delve into the world of space’. The ‘Satellites for Agri-Food’ competition is open to all companies involved in the food, agriculture and space industries. Projects must be collaborative and business-led, and applications can be submitted from 16 November up to the final deadline of 24 February 2016.

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