Global strawberry production increased by a staggering 39.4% between 2008 and 2018, according to figures released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The trend in Europe is much similar, with growth rates on the continent moving firmly in the double-digit range. Budapest-based lighting expert Tungsram has joined forces with the University of Reading to help growers boost their yield while reducing their energy costs. The parties launched a research project in mid-2019 on the use of LED lighting for out-of-season glasshouse strawberry crops.
The University of Reading is rightly considered an expert on the subject, as agriculture has always been one of its core subjects, propelling the institution to among the 10 most recognised centres for agricultural studies globally. The Soft Fruit Technology Group at the university has been around for more than a quarter of a century and its mandate is to provide robust research and expert advice in order to support industry needs. The Group covers a wide range of research topics, including the release of new varieties, out of season production, crop forecasting, and vertical farming.