New lab hopes to export to Europe and earn £15m

VISIT John Misselbrook MD of Agform, MP George Hollingbery and Calum Murray from the technology strategy board
VISIT John Misselbrook MD of Agform, MP George Hollingbery and Calum Murray from the technology strategy board
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AN INNOVATIVE research lab which hopes to generate product sales of £15m per year has been opened by an MP.

The facility in Titchfield Lane, Wickham, was officially unveiled yesterday by MP for the Meon Valley George Hollingbery.

Agform has developed a formulation containing Isoproturon, which is used to kill weeds on agricultural land. The chemical was banned in the UK in 2007, following fears that the amount used was affecting a type of algae.

Agform is developing a form which is as effective at killing weeds, but requires the use of up to eight times less.

The company currently has contracts with Germany and Poland, where the chemical is still in use.

MD John Misselbrook said he hoped that Agform would eventually be able to develop the chemical to sell in the UK.

John said: ‘The establishment of this facility follows over three years of research and development and will result in the introduction of a product that will allow European farmers to grow cereal crops, with a drastic reduction in the use of chemical weed control.

‘Given the economic and environmental demands, our research will continue to be vital to the economy.’

Partly funded by two grants from the Technology Strategy Board, Agform’s expansion is an example of the government’s £90m five-year investment in technology and research. Calum Murray, from the Technology Strategy Board, said: ‘We are delighted to support a range of companies such as Agform to look at the development of innovative technologies which will accelerate improvement in agricultural efficiency.’

Mr Hollingbery said: ‘To have any new business starting here when times are difficult is something I really welcome.’

Agform will employ around 12 highly-qualified staff.