AgriGate research hub which received £600,000 of funding and hopes to reduce wastage in UK agriculture opens in Soham

Eastern Agrigate Hub launch

Eastern Agrigate Hub launch - Credit: Archant

A new agricultural research centre which received £600,000 of growth initiative funding has opened in Soham.

Dedicated to reducing crop and food waste and improving resource use efficiency in the horticultural and fresh produce supply chains, the Eastern AgriGate Research Hub is the firtst of its kind in the UK.

It is based at Hasse Fen near Soham and managed by NIAB, a well-equipped field station, carrying out commercial scale research to increase productivity and reduce crop wastage before produce reaches the processor and retailer.

The new facility has been built thanks to over half a million pounds of funding from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Partnership, through the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative.

The centre was opened by life sciences minister MP George Freeman and Lucy Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire.

Speaking at the event Mr Freeman said: “Building connections between the UK’s world-class science base and agri-businesses is a central pillar to our Agri-Tech Strategy to help farmers produce more food with less land and less environmental impact.”

The hub aims to improve the research capabilities of the region’s agri-businesses, by allowing access to suitable infrastructure, technical expertise and skills, including training and knowledge transfer opportunities.

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Mark Reeve, chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative, said the investment is an important development for agribusinesses in the local area.

“By accessing this field station, businesses can carry out commercial scale research to find practical solutions to the crop wastage issues that are challenging the industry.

“We are therefore pleased to have been able to provide funding to develop this new facility and look forward to seeing the results of work carried out here in the future”, he added.

Dr Effie Mutasa-Göttgens, NIAB project leader, said: “Reducing wastage in UK agriculture is a key step in addressing the challenge of producing food in a more sustainable and efficient way.”