The UK government has announced that it is investing £3 million in the Global Fertiliser Challenge to develop more sustainable fertilisers.

The investment in the US-led fertiliser initiative was announced at the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Summit in Washington DC yesterday (Tuesday, May 9).

Attended by Minister for Indo-Pacific Anne Marie Trevelyan and Farming Minister Mark Spencer, the event brought more than 20 countries together in an attempt to further global progress on the Agriculture Breakthrough.

The collaborative effort, launched under the UK’s COP26 presidency, aims to accelerate the development and deployment of clean technologies and sustainable solutions in the agriculture sector.

In partnership with the US, the UK’s investment will fund a new Efficient Fertiliser Consortium, led by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, that will carry out research to advance efficient, environmentally beneficial and cost-effective fertilisers and management practices.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “Innovation is key to unlocking a more sustainable, profitable future for our farming and agriculture sectors.

“It is vital we join together at the international table to share expertise and best practice, and fund new research to catalyse pioneering solutions that will support farmers around the world to meet the challenges of food security while delivering for our environment

“Alongside today’s £3 million investment into the development of alternative fertilisers, we are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in ongoing support and one-off grants every year for UK farmers get the support they need to capitalise on cutting-edge technology and research that can increase productivity and help tackle climate change.”

Spencer said that countries must continue to foster this innovation and he encouraged other countries to get onboard as they work to generate a “real breakthrough for the agri-food sector”.

“Our global food systems are under increasing pressure, from the devastating impacts of climate change as well as from the turmoil created by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine,” Trevelyan said.

“We need collaboration, innovation and ambition to tackle these challenges, and today’s AIM4C Summit and Agriculture Breakthrough ministerial meeting have demonstrated the possibilities – we now need investment in research and development, and a laser-like focus on deployment and delivery. 

“That’s why the UK is committing £3 million to the Global Fertiliser Challenge, to develop new, more efficient fertilisers to transform productivity and safeguard nature.

“With the US and FFAR (Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research), we will accelerate the pace and scale of agriculture innovation and the adoption of climate-resilient agriculture solutions.”