Understanding R&D in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors

Agri-tech is a growing and innovative sector brought about by the need to feed the nation with sustainable products without giving over more land to agriculture. In response to a need to increase food production without giving over more land the Government are investing £160 million in their ‘Agri-Tech Strategy’. (www.agritech.blog.gov.uk)

Examples of problems to be solved within this sector

There are many reasons why Companies involved in food production and distribution must continue to innovate and create new methods or products to enable the industry to grow in line with the increasing demands placed upon it, examples of these include;

  • How to feed a growing global population
  • How to reduce energy wastage and reuse all available materials to allow for the most efficient productivity
  • How to predict environmental threats such as bad weather or disease
  • How to create the best environment to grow, harvest and transport products to reduce wastage
  • How to introduce new uses for ‘waste’ products such as rainwater or animal bedding

Examples of what constitutes R&D in these sectors?

The HMRC test as to whether a Company is performing R&D is whether a there is ‘appreciable improvement’ in a situation as a result of ‘addressing a scientific and technological uncertainty’.

Any producer actively looking for solutions to problems relating to food production, distribution and other problems in their sector may have a claim for R&D, examples of this are below;

  • The use of new technologies and processes with an unknown outcome
  • The interpretation and sharing of data with other producers
  • The development and use of robotics to increase yield, reduce workload or increase productivity
  • The use of drones to monitor, create imagery and provide remote sensing of fields and or livestock
  • The use of testing, technology and research to better understand the management of soil and it’s structure
  • The use of different animal feeds to increase yields or reduce the emission of certain chemicals

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