The Growing Kent & Medway cluster is located in a region that is delivering major export growth in high-value horticulture. Significant potential lies with produce such as British berries which have shown increases in export value of over 300% in recent years.
The region is also a leader in innovation for the UK food and drink sector. Notable opportunities exist in Kent’s burgeoning viticulture industry. Demand for UK wine is ahead of supply, and production of English sparkling wine is predicted to more than double in the next 10 years. The sector is one of the fastest growing UK exports with a particularly strong market in the Far East. Exports are expected to grow to 25% of production by 2025.
Horticulture, fresh produce packaging and food & drink processing are technology intensive. The UK is seen as a global leader in Agri-Tech and the emerging technologies with the sector employing over half a million people. With technologies such as automation, AI, engineering and precision farming, the potential to deliver environmental sustainability and efficiency gains are substantial. Given increased interest and investment and improved infrastructure to support collaboration, the Growing Kent & Medway cluster will stimulate innovation in Agri-Tech and the emerging technologies to open up significant opportunities for the sector.
We recognise the importance of fostering links with international partners beyond the UK, and a recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between Growing Kent & Medway partners and Oost NL, the East Netherlands Development Agency, is just one of the exciting initiatives we are involved in that put us firmly on the global stage.