UK: HDC to invest £2.3 million in ‘critical’ fruit crop protection research

Four new research opportunities focused on ‘critical’ crop protection for the fruit industry have been launched today by the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) totalling £2.3 million.

The five-year programme of research will focus on integrated pest management (IPM) for strawberry, cane fruit and tree fruit crops with outputs intended to develop strategies for pest and disease solutions considered crucial for the industry by 2020.

IPM is a major priority area for HDC given the potential for very serious crop losses, legislation reducing the availability of approved controls, the uncertainty of the consequences of climate change, the increasing risk from pests and diseases and the increasing consumer interest in food provenance.

The research will facilitate effective crop protection programmes using new conventional, biological and environmental controls, alongside monitoring, forecasting and prediction techniques to protect both the future of the UK fruit crop and the industry as a whole.

The funding is a result of a new focus by HDC’s Tree Fruit and Soft Fruit Panels, to move towards an integrated programme of comprehensive calls to tender, of which these are the first to be launched.

HDC is confident that this programme of research will facilitate effective crop protection programmes that directly meet the issues facing the soft fruit and tree fruit industry.

Chair of HDC’s Soft Fruit Panel, Marion Regan said, “I am pleased that with HDC’s funds we can get a head start in these integrated programmes of work on pest and disease - critical areas for our industry. This approach will make better use of time, money and scientific expertise and will place more emphasis on integrated control and real innovation.”

The four projects available for tender are as follows:
  • Further develop viable integrated management of key pests of commercial strawberry crops.
  • Further develop viable integrated management of key diseases of commercial strawberry crops.
  • Further develop viable integrated management of key pests and diseases of commercial cane fruit crops.
  • Further develop viable integrated management of key pests and diseases of commercial tree fruit crops.
The deadline for proposals is 18.00 on the 30 September 2014 with projects to commence on 1 April 2015, culminating in 2020. For full information on the tender and the application procedure, please visit the HDC tender page: www.hdc.org.uk/tenders.

For more information
HDC
Charlotte Corner, Communications Manager:
T: +44 024 76478880
charlotte.corner@hdc.ahdb.org.uk



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