UK: Meeting of minds at East Malling

One of the farming industry’s most influential representatives paid a fact-finding visit to Kent to meet a major independent funder of horticultural research, The East Malling Trust, and a leading provider of horticultural research, East Malling Research.
Meurig Raymond, the Deputy President of the National Farmers Union, met with Will Sibley, Chairman of East Malling Trust, other trustees, and Chief Executive, Adrian Padfield, to discuss the challenges facing the country’s horticultural industry. Mr Raymond was accompanied on the visit by James Smith, Chairman of Kent NFU.

The invitation from East Malling Trust followed a number of speeches by Meurig Raymond on the issue of how the country could improve its food productivity to meet a growing UK population during a time of changing climate.

Commenting on his visit, Meurig Raymond said: “Agricultural research is absolutely vital in ensuring the industry can meet the challenges in feeding a growing population while impacting less on the environment.
“There is some groundbreaking work being carried thanks to the support of East Malling Trust on behalf of the horticulture sector, and it will be fascinating to find out how this research can be applied on the ground to ensure we have a thriving, productive and profitable industry in the future.”

Top of the agenda was how the NFU and East Malling Trust could ensure the country’s agriculturalists and horticulturists have access to strategic scientific research. Features of the discussions were how to protect crop yields by reducing the harm from pests and diseases, and how research can assist in using less energy and resources in horticultural production.

Will Sibley added: “As a major funder of horticulture research it was important that we met with one of the leading voices for the country’s farming industry. It was apparent from our discussions that Meurig clearly sees the link between investment in horticultural research, and successful food production and a healthy public.”

Meurig Raymond speaking with entomologist Dr Michelle Fountain

During the visit, Meurig Raymond met scientists from East Malling Research (EMR), the centre of horticultural scientific excellence based at the Trust’s 580 acre estate. He met entomologist Dr Michelle Fountain, as well as geneticist and crop improvement expert Dr Richard Harrison, and Dr Emma Skipper who briefed him on food chain quality issues.

For more information:
Simon Robinson
Tel: +44 (0)1892 513033
Mob: +44 (0)7875 408928

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