New £11.3 million horticulture research centre opens doors in Kent

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The £11.3 million GreenTech Hub for Advanced Horticulture was officially opened by Tom Tugendhat MP at NIAB’s East Malling site, today (Thursday 12 May). 

The Hub will provide the UK horticulture and viticulture industry with access to a new state-of-the-art research facility. It includes 2,000m² of specialist glasshouses, 14 modern polytunnels, growth rooms and cold rooms. 

Professor Mario Caccamo, NIAB CEO, said: “The site at East Malling in Kent has a long history of delivering exceptional research to advance horticultural production. As the sector makes significant progress in areas such as robotics and intelligent growing systems, these fantastic new facilities mean we can continue to provide cutting-edge research that reflects the technology being used by commercial growers.

“The Hub will also enable our research teams to advance their work in important areas such as plant genetics, pest and disease control, crop management and our world-renowned fruit breeding programmes.” 

The research facility is expected to generate over £600,000 in additional research and development investment per annum, as well as create new highly-skilled jobs in the region. 

Strengthens the regions reputation

Tom Tugendhat, MP, said: “Kent has a deserved reputation as the Garden of England, being home to many of the leading fruit growers and wine producers in the UK. The GreenTech Hub for Advanced Horticulture will help strengthen our region’s reputation for innovative, sustainable food and drink production. In addition, it will support economic development in the area by bringing in new investment and creating jobs.”

Trials at the research centre will focus on creating sustainable growing systems to help make UK food production more resilient to climate change. NIAB’s leading research experts will help businesses to use resources, like water, more efficiently, as well as cut carbon emissions in their production.  

The project has been funded by UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund (£2.5 million), SELEP’s Local Growth Fund (£2.1 million) with matched funding from the East Malling Trust (£6.7 million). 

For further information about the GreenTech Hub for Advanced Horticulture, visit www.growingkentandmedway.com/greentechhub/.

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.