Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss used a visit to the Royal Highland Show last month to announce £1.3 million of funding from the Agri-Tech Catalyst programme for soft fruit projects led by the James Hutton Institute and James Hutton Limited.
The projects will use the latest advancements in understanding plant genetics to identify traits in raspberries that make them more resilient to pests and diseases, and in blueberries, traits that are better adapted to growing in Scotland’s cooler climate.
Secretary Elizabeth Truss said, “Scottish berries are up there with Scottish beef and lamb as a top quality UK product and this research will only enhance our reputation for producing good food both here and abroad. These projects demonstrate that by investing in the most cutting-edge techniques, and working collaboratively across the UK to raise standards, we can boost productivity and help more Scottish and UK producers to compete in international markets.”
Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of Research Impact at the James Hutton Institute, added, “This research is essential for the sustainability and commercial success of the Scottish and UK berry industry. Through the UK government’s investment in applying scientific innovation to address challenges faced across the agri-food supply chain, we can help producers grow more robust, disease resistant soft fruit varieties that are better suited to the UK market and climate.”