Technology will determine UK competitiveness, says analyst

The future competitiveness of British agriculture will be determined by its ability to use technology such as GM, said AHDB director of market intelligence Ken Boynes last week.

Speaking at the Eblex Outlook Conference (2 May 2012), Boynes pointed out that prices for meat have gone up quite dramatically over the past 10 years, even in the pig industry. He said that population growth in developing countries such as China and India was driving global demand and resulting in tight supply of both meat and feedstocks.

“We have gone from having the equivalent of two football pitches of land to grow food per person 40 years ago to having one – which is not a huge amount of land.”

He said this meant supply would be a challenge in the future and the UK’s ability to meet demand would depend on what technology farmers had at their disposal.

“If we cannot use techology, our competitiveness will be undermined,” he said.

“We have got steady demand going forward, supply will be challenging and prices will be dominated by the adoption of technology compared to the rest of the world.”