Rhubarb is becoming increasingly popular, according to Hillington business Hargreaves Plants Ltd which will be concentrating on developing new varieties thanks to a grant of £47,000.
The business is one of the latest to gain funding through the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and has received the award to aid its research and development.
The firm is a leading producer of rhubarb, asparagus, soft fruit plants and ornamental plants and will use the funding to grow new varieties of rhubarb that will improve its marketability through its appearance whilst also improving the production and quality of rhubarb varieties to suit both consumer and grower demands.
Hargreaves Plants is one of four from the east of England which together were awarded £195,000 in the latest round of funding through the initiative, which is financed through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
Rupert Hargreaves, managing director of Hargreaves Plants Ltd, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant. Hargreaves Plants have been involved in the supply chain of rhubarb plants for the last few years, but it is evident the industry is crying out for some product development.
“There has been no formal research done on rhubarb since the 1990s and rhubarb has gained tremendous popularity since then. This grant application will add benefits to all sectors involved in the ever expanding rhubarb industry.”
Mark Reeve, chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Since the launch of the Agri-Tech Growth Initiative in January 2014, we have already successfully provided over £1.4m of grant funding to the local businesses in the agri-tech sector.
“By investing this money into local businesses in the form of grants, we will enhance and develop the economic productivity of the local agricultural and research sectors. From funding projects that investigate innovative farming methods to facilitating vital research, the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative aims to keep our region’s businesses at the forefront of the agri-tech industry. We have more money left to invest, and we look forward to helping even more businesses to grow.”
Last month the Lynn News reported that cut flower growers JA Collison & Sons in Terrington St Clement received a grant of £118,358 to fund new technology which will boost business and create more jobs through the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative. The funding will be used to purchase, install and commission a fully automatic, robotic flower processing and bunching line.
Anyone can find out more about the funding by visiting the website www.agritechgrants.co.uk or calling 01480 277180.