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UK: Research reveals farming skills gap and lack of knowledge in sustainable food production

A fundamental lack of younger people entering the UK farming industry is resulting in a significant gap in the environmental consciousness needed to address food production concerns to feed a growing population, according to new research. 

The survey of over 2,000 UK adults, conducted by IGS, found that 42% of the UK population is concerned about the future of traditional farming, notably that not enough younger people are entering the profession. With the average age of a farmer in the UK sitting at 58, many of whom are past the age of retirement, there are calls for younger farming talent with a willingness and know-how to step out of traditional processes and implement fresh ideas to improve farming processes and efficiency.

Signaling a desire for ethical and sustainable food production, 40% of Brits reported caring deeply about where their food has come from, while another 40% are keen to see UK farmers and retailers trying new ways of growing products that have previously been imported. In fact, nearly a third (30%) believe that retailers and farmers should be making greater use of technology to grow sustainable produce all year round.

Asked if they had heard of ‘vertical farming,’ only one in six people (15%) had, despite its proven role in helping to address climate change and make food production more sustainable.

Younger people needed
Commenting on the findings, David Farquhar, CEO of IGS, said: “Younger people with environmental consciousness and who are willing to embrace technology are vital to the future of farming - so we need to bridge this gap to ensure that more of these groups are filling these roles.

“With COP26 now imminent, we are rapidly approaching our last chance to avoid irreversible climate change. We also need to stabilize our greenhouse gas emissions, of which farming accounts for up to 25% each year. Vertical farming offers a part of the solution to this; working in partnership with traditional agriculture to deliver a more sustainable future for food production. Not only does it allow farmers to take complete control over every element of a plant’s growth, it also eliminates pesticides and reduces water usage by up to 97%. For a world that’s running out of water, land, and time, we believe this technology is vital.”

IGS will be exhibiting its vertical farming technology at COP26 with a 5.4-meter Growth Tower to showcase what the future of farming could look like. The exhibit will be sited at the Sustainable Glasgow Landing, and is sponsored by Omron and Dexion UK.

For more information:
Intelligent Growth Solutions 

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