A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Interagro's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Interagro is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director Emma Ralph
Interagro’s overriding
mission is in response to
society’s demands for a
greener food footprint
Founded in 1994, Interagro operates within the global adjuvant
and biostimulant market and is at the forefront of adjuvant
technology. Its small team is based in Bishop’s Stortford and
has utilised a forward-thinking and results-driven approach to make
Interagro one of Europe’s leaders in adjuvants and biostimulants.
Today, it boasts over 100 products in 17 international markets,
including Eastern Europe and North Africa. Managing Director
Emma Ralph explains why they consider themselves one of the
world’s most prominent players in this niche sector.
During the 25 years that we have operated, our purpose has never changed: to enable
farmers to produce high-yielding, high-quality crops in a profitable yet environmentally
sound way. The products can be added to crop protection sprays to boost
performance, control weeds, pests and disease, and improve overall plant health.
Applying science for green alternatives
Our overriding mission is to problem-solve in response to emerging market
needs, the most prominent of which is society’s demands for a greener food
footprint. With ever-tightening restrictions on the crop protection toolbox, food
production regulations in the UK are some of the most stringent on the planet.
Such constraints on farmers’ productivity must also now be managed alongside
changing food trends such as veganism and organic, placing even greater limits
on what farmers can use on their crops. Interagro is manufacturing products that
are extremely high quality, including some that contain raw materials that meet
medical-grade specification.
»Managing Director: EmmaRalph
»Executive Chairman: Mike Roche
»Founded in 1994
»Located in Bishop’s Stortford
and Utrecht
»Services: Manufacture of
adjuvants, biostimulants
and specific surfactants for
agriculture and horticulture
»No. of employees: 9, with 4
permanent consultants
»The global adjuvant market
is expected to hit £3.1 billion
by 2024 while the global
biostimulant market is growing
at roughly ten per cent per
annum and is expected to
reach £2.5 billion by 2022
Highlighting best practice
Developing smart, complementary
technology is our mantra and it drives
our scientific endeavour. Our quest
is to increase the resilience of crops
to meet present and future climatic
conditions, ensuring that crops
deliver to their genetic potential. We
invest five per cent of our turnover
into research and technological
discovery. We do this independently
and in partnership with research
organisations, universities, independent
experts and other manufacturers, in
both the UK and across Europe.
Our continued investment in R&D and
technology partnerships to address
these issues has led to many significant
milestones in product introduction and
market development such as: adjuvants
that help retain herbicides in the top
five centimetres of the soil to prevent
leaching to groundwater and improve
weed control, anti-drift agents that
help fungicides access the lower canopy
of potato crops to prevent blight and
adjuvants that improve the uptake of
fungicides for better disease control.
Recently, we have been working
with the University of Nottingham to
research the impact of our biostimulant
Bridgeway on plant health and have
identified significant increases in early
root and shoot growth in cereal crops,
even under abiotic stress conditions.
With the effects of climate change
already being felt on food production,
solutions such as Bridgeway that can
improve the crop’s ability to extract
water and nutrients under heat
and drought stress are becoming
increasingly important.
At present, we are working hard to
respond to the unique challenges faced
by the international food industry. This
includes dealing with the impact of
leaving the EU, which has challenged
us to rethink our supply chain with
respect to our growing global customer
base. In response to this, in 2018
we opened a 100 per cent-owned
Interagro Netherlands in Utrecht.
Delivering value through
We pride ourselves on working closely
with the Chemical Regulations Division
to ensure products are appropriately
controlled, and that relevant
environmental and human health
issues are considered. We collaborate
with farmers and on-farm advisers, to
ensure we deliver significant value on
farm. We’re not just problem solvers:
we are proactive solutions providers,
dealing in the things that matter to the
growers on the ground and meeting
the needs of the consumer.
We believe that our business
encapsulates the mindset of farmers
and growers who are seeking more
sustainable ways of farming, which
reduce their carbon footprint, minimise
crop protection residues and consider
the environmental fate, for example
by leaching, of nutrients and active
ingredients. The farming industry is
known for readily embracing new
technologies to improve yield and
production efficiency; in fact, business
profitability hinges on them doing so,
and doing things smarter.
We believe that the adjuvant and
biostimulant chemistry is a big part of
smart farming. Our hugely challenging
legislative environment looks set
Biostimulants can
improve the crop’s
ability to extract water
and nutrients under heat
and drought stress
regulations in
the UK are
some of the
most stringent
on the planet
to continue as the agriculture and
horticulture sectors continue to lose
large numbers of active ingredients.
Adjuvants are a really good example
of a technology for farming’s future
– they are recognised as important
for tackling increased agrochemical
resistance in weed and disease
populations and for reducing the spray
drift during in-field application of
Cleaner, greener, meaner
There is no end to the problems we
face going forward. With resistance to
crop protection products and regulatory
changes front of mind for growers, our
customers must keep looking for ways
to optimise the products they have
available. It’s all about being clear as
to why the product is needed, what it
does and how it benefits the industry.
Our process comes down to five words:
innovate, ideate, prototype, test, repeat.
On an internal level, investing in our
people and technology and expansion
of our portfolio will be central to the
future success of the business and
reaching planned growth targets.
We are always looking to work with
new ideas and partners. Thinking on
a larger scale, we will be looking to
share findings between countries and
develop new markets where possible
through field scale trials, regulatory
trials and small plot research.
Faced with changing weather patterns,
it will be up to businesses like ours
to create greener solutions, and up
to our policymakers to make sure we
have room to do so. Cleaner chemistry,
greener labelling and obtaining vegan
certification are key elements of our
plans in the months and years to
come, as are soil health and water
We will continue working with growers
and agronomists to demonstrate the
value of our products, while educating
the farming community and the public
to pay for food with good provenance.
If we get it right, we will be doing
our part to ensure a greener food
footprint for the planet and honing
responsible, sustainable food sources
for futuregenerations.
We operate in a globally intense and
divergent legislative environment,
which is not favourable to registering,
nor prolonging the use, of crop
protection active ingredients. We
need the British government and the
European Commission to support the
innovation principle, which bases the
approval of technology on science, not
emotion. For the future of food and
the environment, this is essential.
Our quest is to
increase the
resilience of
crops to meet
present and
future climatic
Our R&D is focused on five core areas:
»Understanding plant pathology and how technologies improve the
control of plant diseases
»Molecular biology to understand the way plant defence mechanisms
work and how our products can enhance plant health at a cellular level
»Liquid and droplet integrity studies to determine the behaviour and
fate of crop sprays in solution, on plant leaves, in the soil, rivers and
»Tank mix compatibilities to ensure our products perform in combination
with those farmers routinely use for disease, weed and pest control
»Field trials with supply chain partners and growers to ensure product
efficacy, operator and crop safety.
Interagro invests
five per cent of its
turnover into research
and technological
discovery with
research organisations,
universities, independent
experts and other

This article was sponsored by Interagro. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster