THE focus was on the thriving partnership of agriculture and technology in Dorset at a conference at Kingston Maurward.

Business leaders from the county’s Agritech sector came together to celebrate the growing contribution the industry is making to the local and regional economy.

The ‘Dorset Agritech – Real Progress’ event was organised by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Dorset County Council and Kingston Maurward College.

Agritech is the use of technology in agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture. Dorset’s Agri-Tech sector is currently worth £108m and employs around 700 people. Dorset is also home to the Kingston Maurward College agri-tech centre, which comprises an agricultural classroom, an IT suite, and high spec workshop and machinery facilities.

The event also marked the announcement that Dorset has been identified by the Department of International Trade as a High Potential Opportunity for Aquaculture, Also known as aquafarming, aquaculture is the farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms.

The excellent water quality of Dorset’s inshore waters has enabled a diversity of aquaculture to develop and there is significant potential for this sector to expand at sea and on land. The county is also home to Cefas (Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science), a world leader in marine science and technology. The High Potential Opportunity recognition will help to unlock further growth in the sector.

Luke Rake, Dorset LEP board member and CEO and Principal of Kingston Maurward College said: “Today is a celebration of how far we have come in the last two to three years in growing Dorset’s Agritech sector, from the LEP’s initial £900,000 Local Growth Fund investment for our cutting-edge Agritech centre, to Dorset leading the way in the sector.

“Both Agritech and Aquaculture sectors are likely to become core components of Dorset’s Local Industrial Strategy, helping to play a major role in creating jobs and boosting productivity.”

The aim of the Local Industrial Strategy is to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout Dorset with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure. The strategy responds directly to the UK’s Industrial Strategy and Dorset LEP is currently calling for new evidence to inform the strategy’s development. For further details visit