Fertile fen soil

£3.2 million funding for agri-tech

Eastern England Agri-Tech Growth Initiative success

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, will today (Thursday 11th July) announce that Government will provide £3.2 million of funding to support the development of the agri-tech industry in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

The Eastern England Agri-Tech Growth Initiative will receive the funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund following a bid submitted by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in conjunction with New Anglia LEP.

The initiative will bring together leading agriculture, research, science and technology assets in the East of England the initiative will strengthen a nationally significant, vibrant new cluster that brings a truly global reach and impetus to the emerging UK agri-tech sector.

Grahame Nix, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted that our bid for the Eastern England Agri-Tech Growth Initiative has been successful. As a key sector within our area, this scheme aims to deliver 500 jobs, 25 new businesses and help to secure the future success of the sector for the next 25 years. We want to ensure the future success of our area in this sector, and the funding announced today will help us to achieve this vision.”

Andy Wood, Chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences is an important sector for Norfolk and Suffolk with world class R & D in this sector focussed at Norwich Research Park. We’re really excited about the opportunities for jobs growth that this funding will deliver in Norfolk and across the region.”

The initiative brings together the wide array of existing world class capabilities in crop and food research, technology, engineering and manufacturing that already exists between Cambridge and Norwich, with the grade one agricultural land and production capabilities in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk, the Fens and parts of Suffolk. Strengthening an already significant cluster, this initiative will help the agri-tech sector to evolve for future success and growth.

Focusing on future success, the initiative will boost growth by:

  • supporting the development, application and commercialisation of new technology in the food and agriculture industry, through new market and supply chain development
  • enabling essential skills development
  • establishing a new cluster that puts the UK at the forefront of global challenges facing the food and agriculture sector
  • providing loans for local SMEs in specialist food-related sectors and industries
  • creating innovation support for micro-enterprises that are currently unable to access support via existing schemes, such as the Growth Accelerator
  • reviewing opportunities to create a private sector network for the agri-tech cluster in our area to help broker investments

The bid was created by a strong partnership team, which included: Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, Cambridgeshire County Council, New Anglia LEP, Opportunity Peterborough, Norfolk County Council, District Authorities, WLP, with additional input from NIAB-TAG, Sainsbury Laboratories, John Innes Centre, Genome Centre, Hethel Innovation, NRP, University of Cambridge, University of East Anglia, local MPs and others.

The LEPs will now work with Government to finalise the funding agreement and carry out due diligence work. As soon as this is created the team will officially launch the new scheme.