HOT off the heels of the government announcement that its Farming Innovation Programme is set to receive a £16.5million investment, the Commercial Director of food waste recycling and sustainability firm Warrens Group is praising the role this funding could do to help minimise food waste created in the primary production industry.
Of the cash boost to the farming industry, where various research and development projects can access grants to help support their initiatives, Kevin Quigley, Commercial Director of Warrens Group, commented: “Food waste on farms and in agriculture is often overlooked and the focus tends to concentrate on consumer and retailer behaviour, while primary production remains a largely neglected hotspot for food waste.
He continues: “The issue of food waste has been worsened by the lack of fruit and vegetable pickers – an offshoot of Brexit, and later worsened by the pandemic. This labour shortage has forced suppliers to leave fruit and veg rotting in the fields. There is a constant battle of balancing supply and demand, but without people in a position to collect produce, there is nothing to supply. This investment will aid the implementation of automation technology and reduce the industry’s reliance on seasonal migrant labour.”
Kevin concludes: “Technology and training that aid the reduction of food waste on farms are slowly being introduced in the UK. Adoption of food waste technology will be recognised as both a smart business strategy and an essential tool for sustainable practice. However, this will not be enough to effectively reduce the issue at the source.
“The recent announcement by the Government will hopefully result in a change in behaviour from farmers and growers. It will also increase awareness of the need for funding in all areas of the food supply chain to prevent loss.”