The Importance of Sustainable Farming - 07/10/22

In recent years, focusing on sustainable trade has been an important factor for exporters as the world tries to mitigate the effects of climate change. Following this, the UK has set its sights on a primary source of pollution- with hopes to encourage production of farm-based protein.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are estimated to spend around £600 million on grants and support for farmers to invest in productivity, animal health and welfare, innovation, research and development over the next 3 years. Currently, fund to help increase domestic production of healthy, sustainable protein is now open for applications.

Steve Double, Defra Parliamentary Under Secretary of State has said, “Our farmers and food producers are the best in the world, and we want to encourage collaboration across the sector to help improve productivity and sustainability.”

Development of products that primarily produce methane are largely under fire, as the greenhouse gas has accounted for roughly 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times and rapidly increasing faster than any other recorded times since recording began in the 1980s.

So, it makes sense that methane reducing animal feeds and high protein crops have received a boost of interest in current times, with Defra opening a £12.5 million competition in hopes to support research and innovation in the area.

“Food production and environmental protection are two sides of the same coin. It’s why we are spending £270m to support farmers to innovate for the future through the Farming Innovation Programme.” Double continued.

The competition has been split into two categories: ‘Feasibility’ and ‘Industrial Research’. Feasibility is aimed at projects of up to 2 years valued between £200-£500k, whilst Industrial Research is aimed towards up to 5 years and includes breeding projects, valued between £500k-£1 million.

Investing in plant-based protein and animal welfare comes from the UK’s plans on decarbonising the country, which has been previously documented in the ‘Green Trade’, an initiative created by the UK government that focuses on domesticating production of net zero alternatives to oil and gas. It encourages investment and growth in green industries and opens up the opportunity of dealing in new global markets for environmental goods and services.

These opportunities benefit local economies by providing jobs and boosting the growth of the area, leading to better lifestyles for current and future residents. An example of this would be Liverpool introducing Glass Futures.

Glass Futures is co-funded by the UK Government and will be the first industry-led global centre of excellence in open innovation, R&D and training. Some key points of interest for future projects include development of alternative fuel technologies, robotic operations and automation, secondary raw materials for circular economy and next generation refractories.

The project promises to deliver more than 735 apprenticeship hours, a commitment to saving 1000tn of CO2 emissions and 100 volunteer hours committed to local ‘green projects. The completion of this facility has been estimated to conclude around January 2023.

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