The previous chapter has looked at the origins of agricultural research in the UK, and particularly how research became institutionalized in the early 20th century. There were a number of reasons for this, but one important factor was the desire of the government to ensure that the UK could be self-sufficient in food in an insecure world where war could break out at any time. But the UK also had an empire – the largest in terms of area, extent and population covered of any empire to exist on this planet. The ‘official’ period of the British Empire may have been relatively short-lived, but unofficial empire lasted much longer and has had major repercussions on the world we see today. Just as agricultural research became an issue in the British homeland, so it did in its colonies. Indeed the timing of both events is similar, yet the driving forces were in some ways quite different. The British Empire existed for commerce and trade, and the focus of the research was not on food staples but on cash crops that were luxuries. Sugar cane, tea, tobacco, oil palm and spices were cash crops that provided products not essential to life. The one exception to this was rubber – an important product in the time of war, but not indispensable. Although its empire has long since dissolved, the UK is now a member of the EU – the largest aid funder in the world.