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MEPs Commit to Agricultural R&D

by 5m Editor
28 September 2011, at 9:23am

EU - MEPs have voted to substantially increase research spending to meet the twin challenges of increased food demand and diminishing resources.

The NFU has described yesterday's vote in the European Parliament as a ‘breath of fresh air’. Members backed plans to step up spending as part of the Horizon 2020 Green Paper, a framework for EU research and innovation from 2014 to 2020.

MEPs also recognised the need for greater emphasis on knowledge transfer, to give farmers on the ground access to cutting-edge concepts and new technologies.

Dawn Howard from the NFU Brussels office said: "There has been a chronic under-investment in agricultural research and development for decades which has resulted in a stagnation of national productivity and a hit on our competitiveness.

"It is very positive that MEPs have today recognised this by calling to increase spending in the farming sector.

"Research can range from the most basic of biological concepts, such as natural breeding of crops and livestock, to the development of highly technical solutions. It would be churlish of us not to investigate the use of every tool in the toolbox in our fight to meet the massive challenge to feed the world sustainably.

"Throughout history agriculture has responded to the demands it has faced with fantastic innovations and techniques to improve productivity and efficiency. Today is no different which is why we wholeheartedly support these well overdue moves to step up funding for research and innovation."

The MEPs’ report comes after the European Commission proposed in June to increase overall spending on research and innovation by 46 per cent between 2014 and 2020. The report will now feed into Commission proposals on Horizon 2020 which are expected before the end of the year.