The eagle might have finally landed, but the journey started some 9 months ago. This is the background to that flight.

During last April’s 2017 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program which was attended by 23 Kiwi agritech companies and May’s Farming2020 event in Hamilton, a number of stakeholders in New Zealand’s agritech sector shared their thinking about the sector’s overall performance. We benchmarked ourselves against some of the world’s leading agritech players including Israel, Ireland, the Netherlands and the USA. These then were just some of the key takeaways from those discussions. New Zealand was;

  • underperforming when benchmarked against our global peers. NZ exports approx. $1.3 billion of product and services. Israel exports approx. 10x that number
  • attracting negligible global inward investment, according to AgFunder
  • negatively impacted by a historic ‘silo’ approach adopted by government agencies, industry, research institutes & the emerging startup sector
  • lacking a compelling, coherent story, despite some significant positive talking points
  • failing to collaborate effectively when significant global opportunities arose

According to the Coriollis Report, commissioned by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Ireland and others felt that New Zealand should be exporting twice its current numbers.

Over the past few months, I have been meeting with representatives from different government agencies and agribusinesses to assist develop a framework to address these issues. It’s culminated in a proposal to build the ‘Agritech New Zealand Network’, a ‘cluster’ organisation that brings together the different stakeholder groups to build a more cohesive, effective and collaborative NZ agritech ecosystem.

Agritech New Zealand logo

The eagle landed yesterday as the first invitations for an ‘Agritech New Zealand Network’ roadshow were emailed out by Wharf42 and the agritech desks at NZTE & Callaghan Innovation. This post is aimed at providing further information about the roadshow and provides more information about each event.

First of all, the purpose of the roadshow. It’s been designed to reach out to the widest audience within the country’s extensive agritech ecosystem by explaining some of the historic challenges, the significant, emerging opportunities and the framework being established to enable this to happen. We intend to visit at least 13 centres across the country through March & April to share this message. Admission to these events is free.

Secondly, the proposed schedule for the roadshow, as it currently stands;

Tauranga                                          Thursday 1 March
https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/agritech-new-zealand-roadshow-tauranga-tickets-43263451147

Hamilton                                          Tuesday 6 March
https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/agritech-new-zealand-roadshow-hamilton-tickets-43212878884

Palmerston North                           Wednesday 14 March
https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/agritech-new-zealand-roadshow-palmerston-north-tickets-43320577012

Wellington                                       Friday 16 March

Auckland (CBD)                             Thursday 22 March

Christchurch                                    Monday 9 April

Dunedin                                            Wednesday 11 April

Invercargill                                       Friday 13 April

Auckland (Pukekohe)                     Thursday 19 April

Eventbrite invitations will be set up for each event as venues and speakers are confirmed. We are currently in the process of confirming additional dates for Hastings, New Plymouth, Nelson and South Canterbury.

None of this activity would have been possible without the contributions of a number of some extraordinary people over the past few months. Hat doffed therefore for the valuable inputs from the agritech-focused teams at NZTE, Callaghan Innovation, NZVIF and others in government. From industry, it’s been great to work with representatives from Fonterra, LIC, Gallagher, Spark & ASB Bank.

By working together, New Zealand’s agritech sector can raise the bar and help build a much more prosperous future for our country. That mission is best summed up by Techweek’18’s hashtag #LetsBeGoodForTheWorld.

The action starts next week. If you want more details, please drop me a line at peter@wharf42.co.nz