Farming Innovation Programme launched to boost the future of farming

  • d remove the need for pesticides in production

UKRI Challenge Director for the TFP challenge, Katrina Hayter, said:

As the UK gets ready to host COP26 in November, it is timely that we can unveil so many great projects in the vital area of agriculture that will help meet our net zero goals.

Working closely with farmers in the innovation process means that pressing challenges are identified. Solving these challenges will result in maximising productivity, reducing emissions, and making our farms more resilient and sustainable.

Further information on Defra’s new funds is available at the Future Farming Blog and at the dedicated UKRI webpage.


From October 2021:

  • Research Starter Projects – To help farmers and growers with bold, ambitious early-stage ideas develop them further and build a collaborative team – for those who haven’t previously received Innovate UK funding
  • Feasibility Projects – To test the feasibility of early-stage solutions and to inform decisions on subsequent larger scale R&D projects
  • Small R&D Partnership Projects – To carry out R&D for innovative solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability and resilience of the sector

From Spring 2022:

  • Large R&D Partnership Projects – Launching early 2022, this will provide funding for larger-scale R&D and demonstration of solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability and resilience of the sector
  • each competition within the R&D Partnership Fund will offer different scales of funding. Project teams will be able to apply for grants towards the total project costs, while providing some of their own match funding.
  • the competitions will be open to applications for 5-6 weeks, with different closing dates for each competition.
  • video recordings of applicant briefing events are available on the competition pages.
  • more information on the new competitions and how to get involved can be found on the UKRI website
  • further information will follow in the coming months on the other funds available in the Programme, including the Farming Futures R&D Fund, and the Projects to Accelerate Adoption Fund

How the Supply Chain Affects the U.S. Economy

How Firms Used Supply Chain Financing to Survive the Financial Crisis


Kimberly Amadeo

 REVIEWED BY ERIC ESTEVEZ Updated May 24, 2021

The supply chain is how a company turns raw materials into finished goods and services for the customer. It starts with the harvesting of the raw material. The commodity could be crops, animals, timber, gold, or other natural resources.

The commodity then goes to the manufacturer. That’s when it becomes a finished product. There can be several steps in this process and they can involve locations in several different countries.

The finished product goes to one of three places: a wholesaler, a retailer, or directly to the consumer.

  1. The wholesaler or distributor consolidates the products from around the world. It repackages them for easier marketing and distribution.  
  2. The retailer offers goods and services to the consumer. Retailers provide additional services, such as helping you make a selection. For this service, they charge extra.
  3. Some manufacturers bypass the retailer and offer the products directly to the consumer. Some sell from their own website or catalog. Others use a discount warehouse store. A few can afford their own store that only sells their goods.

How It Affects the Economy

Manufacturing managers decide where to locate the company based on the costs of production. That’s led to a lot of jobs outsourcing in technology to India and China. Many call centers have outsourced to India and the Philippines.

Natural disasters are becoming an increasing threat that can disrupt any part of the supply chain. The United Nations Refugee Agency reported their frequency has doubled in the last 20 years due to global warming. The impact on local productivity can last decades after an event.1

If a disaster is bad enough, it can slow global growth. In 2011, Japan’s earthquake and the resultant tsunami created the most damage to the world’s supply of automobiles, electronics, and semiconductor equipment. The wings, landing gears, and other major airline parts are also made in Japan, so the quake disrupted the production of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. U.S. gross domestic product slowed in 2011 as 22 Japanese auto part plants suspended production.2

Supply Chain Management

Businesses manage every step of the supply chain to make sure it is the most efficient. As a result, many companies outsource jobs to countries like China that have a lower cost of living.3 East and Southeast Asia accounted for nearly two-thirds of exports from developing countries.4

Many companies vertically integrate to get control of the supply chain. This gives them more control over the production process and costs, which gives the company enough competitive advantage that it is almost a monopoly. But vertical integration is a disadvantage when it restricts flexibility.

How Supply Chain Financing Help Firms Survive

The global credit crisis forced banks and corporations to find innovative ways to raise cash to keep businesses running. Many turned to supply chain financing, which is like a pay-day loan for businesses. Suppliers use the invoice for a shipment as collateral to get a low-interest loan from a bank. Banks know that they will get paid due to the credit-worthiness of the business receiving the goods.

Supply chain financing is especially helpful for small companies. It provides an opportunity to earn better financing terms. Banks were reluctant to lend, even to each other. But they were happy to lend against approved purchase orders and invoices with companies with a good shipping record.

Corporations became more efficient in their operations, which also helped to free up cash. In addition, corporation Treasurers became more focused on making sure the cash they had was invested in “safe havens,” such as U.S. Treasuries, municipal bonds, and even their own stocks in “stock buybacks.” They became savvier about foreign exchange and interest rate risk. In other words, good companies squeezed cash out of their operations and cash management, since they couldn’t rely on banks. 

The Bottom Line

Efficient management of the supply chain can reduce costs, maximize customer value, and maximize competitive advantage. It entails effective coordination and control of linked sectors, departments, systems, and organizations. All facilitate the flow of production from conceptualization to point of sale of the product to the consumer.

Corporations that are adept at supply chain management can be more liquid, flexible, and less reliant on banks and middlemen for their cash flows and profits.