Growth in the agri-food sector in Greater Lincolnshire is important not only locally but for the whole of the UK

The Agri-food sector combines agriculture and food manufacturing with a strong focus on agri-tech (robotics) and the supply chain. We have an international reputation for food, fish and farming and have one of the largest concentrations of food manufacturing, research, storage and distribution in Europe.

Greater Lincolnshire is responsible for growing 12%(i) of the England’s food and processing 70%(ii) of its fish, and is therefore strategically important in national food security.  The area is particularly important for vegetable production - 25%(iii) of national production, ornamental crops such as cut flowers - 21%(iv), sugar beet - 19%(v) and poultry meat -18%(vi).

In total the food chain provides 24% of Greater Lincolnshire’s jobs (as compared with just 13% nationally) and 21% of its economic output (7% nationally).  The future of the food chain is more important to Lincolnshire than any other area.

Boasting more grade 1 agricultural land than any other LEP in England, the Greater Lincolnshire agri-food sector will double its contribution to the economy by 2030 through an ambitious programme of investment in productive capacity, skills and knowledge to drive an increase in high- value- added sales to UK and export markets.

Primarily through the Single Local Growth Fund, and with additional funding from European and other funds, the LEP has been a significant enabler in the development of a specialist Centre of Excellence for the Agri-food Industry, with a focus on higher level skills, agri-tech, and food manufacturing research. The aim of this facility is to strengthen research, technological development and innovation in Lincolnshire’s agri-food industry to aid competitiveness. Once complete, the centre will act as a gateway for collaboration between the university and local industry, strengthening partnerships and contributing to regional competitiveness.

The LEP was also ambitious in supporting partners to bid for three unique and complementary Food Enterprise Zones, strengthening Greater Lincolnshire's position as a key player in the agri-tech sector, and positioning the Midlands Engine as a national leader within this field.

In addition to the LEP work locally, in collaboration with partners the LEP has been making the case for the industry nationally.The LEP Chair and CEO of the Lincolnshire Co-Operative; Ursula Lidbetter MBE, was also appointed to the Food and Drink Sector Council established by DEFRA in 2018, as the representative for all 38 LEPs across the country.

Our Food Board are driving these actions through the Agri-Food Sector plan and will achieve this through the development of the three unique and complementary Food Enterprise Zones whilst maintaining a priority focus on government influence.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The LEP has been a significant enabler in the development of a specialist Centre of Excellence for the Agri-food Industry, with a focus on higher level skills, agri-tech, and food manufacturing research.
  • Supported partners to bid for three unique and complementary Food Enterprise Zones, strengthening Greater Lincolnshire's position as a key player in the agri-tech sector, and positioning the Midlands Engine as a national leader within this field.
  • The LEP Chair and CEO of the Lincolnshire Co-Operative; Ursula Lidbetter MBE, was appointed to the Food and Drink Sector Council established by DEFRA earlier this year, as the representative for all 38 LEPs across the country.
  • The University of Lincoln now has the largest agri-food robotics team in Europe and their innovative work is testing how robots can be used to undertake repetitive manual tasks freeing staff to add more value and to focus on more complex procedures.

Unless otherwise stated, all employment data is either BRES (Business Register and Employer Survey), ONS 2014, or is calculated using BRES + Cambridge Econometrics Local Economic Forecasting Model (LEFM) 2014.

GVA is based on ONS Gross Value Added data 2014, or ONS GVA + LEFM unless otherwise stated. 

(i) Structure of UK Agricultural Industry, DEFRA 2014

(ii--vi) As above

(vii) BRES 2014