In 2001 the Office of Science and Technology’s Foresight Panel ‘Food Chain and Crops for Industry Task Force: unlocking the potential of industrial crops’ recommended that ‘a respected, independent centre of know-how should be created with a remit to bring together all the existing and potential players to facilitate developments in the non-food area’.
The Government stated its commitment to extending the competitive non-food uses of crops, and accepted the need, for a long-term strategy for creating and exploiting opportunities in non-food crops in the “Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food”, published in December 2002. The Government announced that it was working with partners to establish a non-food crops centre to drive forward innovation, and the creation of the NNFCC fulfills this commitment.
Since 1995, two networking groups, the Plant Protein Club and the Alternative Crop Technology Interactive Network, have promoted the non-food uses of crops and the science that underpins those applications. These organisations have now closed and the NNFCC will develop and build on their activities.
The Government strategy for the use of non-food crop products is being developed with a wide range of interested parties and is due to be published in spring 2004.
The NNFCC’s purpose is to provide a single, independent and authoritative source of information on the use and implementation of non-food crop products and technologies in the United Kingdom. The Centre will disseminate scientific and technical information on these issues as widely as possible in order to increase knowledge and understanding, to initiate and facilitate technology uptake and to meet the government’s and society’s wider objectives for sustainable development.
Scope of activity
The NNFCC’s remit includes the use of all plant-derived materials, derivatives and by-products for commercial non-food purposes, with the exception of plants grown for ornamental purposes and forestry grown solely for timber.
NNFCC does not cover products derived from micro-organisms but it will hold information on the practical use of micro-organisms in processing applications. Data will be held on non-food uses of animal products but the NNFCC will not have a comprehensive range of activities in this area. Data will be held on the use of crops for energy and transport fuel, but the NNFCC will avoid overlap with the activities of other organisations specialising in these sectors.
The NNFCC will build on the activities of the Plant Protein Club and the Alternative Crop Technology Interactive Network (ACTIN) which have hitherto acted to promote scientific and technological advance in the use of non-food crops and their uptake by industry.
Source: www.nnfcc.co.uk vom 2003-12-22.