Drones, clean energy and precision: Plans for UK’s farming future

Financial incentives for sustainable agriculture and efficient food production will become central to the UK’s farming future, according to the white paper outlining how UK industry will grow post-Brexit.

The document ‘Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain fit for the future’ mentioned how the government would seek to grow the markets for innovative farming technologies and techniques – such as the use of drones.

The document also said the UK government wanted to see fully self-driving cars on the road by 2021.

The British government estimates the UK’s ‘clean economy’ could grow as much as four times GDP.

‘More from less’

The report read: “We will put the UK at the forefront of the global move to high-efficiency agriculture.

Rising global demand for food and water is increasing the need for agriculture that produces more from less.

“Our new ‘Transforming food production: From farm to fork’ programme will put the UK at the forefront of advanced sustainable agriculture.

“Over the coming years, as we replace the Common Agricultural Policy, we will increase the incentives for investment in sustainable agriculture, helping to grow the markets for innovative technologies and techniques.

“With powers set to return from the EU, the UK government is in discussions with the devolved administrations over future arrangements.

Precision farming

The world will need 60% more food by 2050 to allow us to feed nine billion people, while demand for water is expected to rise by 20% in the agricultural sector alone.

It said that for this to be possible, the way farmers produce food would need to be significantly more efficient and sustainable, the report added.

Opportunities for jobs

It suggested technological advances would create export opportunities creating more jobs.

It read: “By using precision technologies we can make that a reality; transform food production whilst reducing emissions, pollution, waste and soil erosion.

“By putting the UK at the forefront of this global revolution in farming we will deliver benefits to farmers, the environment and consumers whilst driving growth, jobs and exports.

“[We will] work in partnership with food businesses ‘from farm to fork’, through the Courtauld Commitment to deliver 20% per capita reduction in food waste by 2025; supporting innovative and highly efficient precision agriculture through the Industrial Strategy programme.”