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Potato partners secure GBP 2 million (about USD 2,3 million) investment funding to sustain the future of potato growing.

Potato partners secure GBP 2 million (about USD 2,3 million) investment funding to sustain the future of potato growing.

The Net Zero Hectare project has secured GBP 2.06 million (about USD 2.36 million) in funding acquired from The Farming Innovation Programme, run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in cooperation with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The three-year project will work with industry experts in each area, this collaboration will look to tackle the three key areas of emissions in growing ware potato crops: fertiliser, storage, and transport.

Crop storage technology firm Crop Systems Ltd will be looking at how to improve crop storage energy usage. Using their SmartStor controller they will comprehensively monitor multiple stores and track all aspects of the energy usage minute by minute.

This will allow modifications to made driving storage costs down. Another area being advanced by the investment is Pre-conditioning potatoes ready for retail during transport.

Ray Andrews, Managing director of Crop Systems Ltd:
"We are proud to be involved in this important project and can’t wait to impart our potato storage knowledge and expertise, helping the industry work towards a net-zero supply chain."
The lead partner Branston is one of the UK’s major suppliers of potatoes - for UK retailers and wholesalers - as well as providing seed for potato growers. It has sites in Lincoln, Scotland and the Southwest.

B-hive Innovations is an Agri-Tech R&D business based in Lincoln. B-hive develops innovative technologies for fresh produce industry to increase marketable yield, better crop utilisation, adding new value and reducing food waste in the supply chain.

Sandra Varga and Iain Gould, lead researchers on the project of the University of Lincoln:
"This is a unique opportunity to try something that farmers usually are unable to trial due to capacity and cost limitations. The advances that it could bring will significantly transform the farming industry for the future."
David Armstrong, a Lincolnshire-based farmer who will be trialling the store and field research.

David Armstrong:
"We are very excited to be part of such a forward-thinking project. Reducing our on-farm carbon emissions is essential for the future of our planet, therefore being involved in a project like this from the start gives us the chance to make a real difference."
John Stirling, farmer and owner of Arbikie Distillery in Montrose:
"We are delighted to be involved in such an innovative and potentially important project. As one of the most sustainable distilleries in the world, it is vitally important for us to look at all aspects of our carbon emissions and how we can make things better. This project gives us the opportunity to challenge some conventional thinking across all scopes and look to improve our carbon footprint substantially."