Agri-Food Innovation Centre investment approved
Work is about to begin on a new Agri-Food Innovation Centre
that will give a massive boost to regional food producers.
The final piece of investment has now been approved for
the Agri-Food Innovation Centre, which will be built at the
Duchy College site, in Stoke Climsland and is being welcomed
by leaders in the South West food industry. The building will
form part of a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) for
Food and Drink Technologies in the South West in conjunction
with Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.
Investment in the Agri-Food Innovation Centre will total
about £4.7 million. Of this sum, almost £1.2 million
from the Objective One EAGGF (European Agricultural Guidance
and Guarantee Fund) has recently been approved with the same
amount from Defra. The project is being lead by Cornwall College
and is part of a wider expansion of higher education enabled
by the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative.
The centre will offer a range of facilities including training
for new entrants and those already involved in the agri-food
sector, facilities for small businesses looking to develop
products and marketing, higher education qualifications, top
quality research facilities and meeting rooms.
Phil Le Grice, director of Trials and Research at Duchy
College, said: "We want the Agri-Food Innovation
Centre to be seen as something of genuine regional and national
significance. This is all about adding value for the region.
It will be a flagship centre that will hopefully inspire new
entrants and those already in the industry."
Peter Hardaker, chairman of the Cornwall Agricultural Council,
added: "We have already invested over £25
million EAGGF from the Objective One Programme into the added
value food processing sector. This figure is matched by £25
million from Defra and this in turn has levered in over £50
million from the private sector. This £100 million investment
portfolio has generated significant growth in this sector
and more importantly created a larger market for quality local
produce grown and produced on Cornish farms.
"The creation of the Agri-Food Innovation Centre
is another piece in the jigsaw of support for this sector
and will provide a facility that will offer training, innovation,
new product development and other support services. This project
fits well with the vision of the Cornwall Agricultural Council
and will make a significant contribution to our strategic
With more than 3,500 food and drink related businesses in
the South West the sector has been identified in the South
West Regional and Economic Strategy as being a priority area
for the region's future economy.
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership,
said: "This is an important investment in one of
the staples of the Cornish economy – local produce.
This centre will give tremendous support to those working
to add value to their agricultural products. By using knowledge,
research and innovation they will be able to improve the quality
of their products and bring new products to the market."
Michael Horrell, of Lynher Dairies Cheese Company is also
chairman of the Agri-Food Steering Group. He explained:
"In our early days as farmhouse cheese makers, it would
have been a tremendous asset to enjoy such a facility in the
county, providing training, technical and business support
for a new venture. I am sure that both start-up and established
enterprises will feel a benefit in the future."
It is expected that the building will be ready for use in
September 2007 but recruiting has already begun for modules
of an Agri-Food Foundation Degree which is starting this September
The Foundation Degree is run by Duchy College in partnership
with the CUC, including the University of Plymouth who accredit
the award. It will offer the opportunity to specialise in
one of four areas – Food Manufacturing Technology, Food
Health and Nutrition, Food and On-Farm Processing and Food
Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Foundation Degree can
be taken on a full-time, part-time, or flexible stand alone
module basis making the course available to those already
John Latham, CEO and Principal of the Cornwall College Group,
said: "I am impressed by the vision and dynamism
of all those involved in this collaborative project so far.
The Agrifood Centre at Duchy College will be a valuable training
and development resource for businesses in the area and will
increase higher education opportunities in a very important
sector for the region."
Angie Coombs from Taste of the West said: "This
is such an exciting project and so badly needed in the region.
The fantastic developments in the food and drink industry
in the South West in the last few years need to be underpinned
by sound technical and educational support opportunities to
continue the growth. I am certain that the Agri-Food Centre
will enable the South West to lead the way as a centre of
excellence for food production."
Traci Lewis, manager of Organic South West, a Soil Association
project working to develop organic food production in Cornwall
said: "The Agri-Food Centre will offer a wonderful
opportunity for the growing number of organic farmers and
food producers in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to develop
new organic products and add further value to their produce
For further information please contact Clare Morgan on 01872
223439 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the Agri-food Centre through
the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and
land based industries project is advised to speak with Martin
Butler at Government Office South West on 01752 635134 before
commencing development as there are now only limited funds
available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural
sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
£1,173,905 of EAGGF investment has been approved for
the Agri-Food Innovation Centre.
Duchy College is part of the Cornwall College group and
a partner in the Combined Universities in Cornwall.
The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a partnership that
combines the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University
College Falmouth, The Open University, The College of St Mark
& St John, and the Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's
Further Education colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College
and Penwith College. The CUC initiative has been invested
in by the Objective One Programme, the South West Regional
Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher
Education Funding Council for England.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439