It’s a question I was asked last week. Three times.

It was essentially this. If New Zealand’s agritech sector had $100M of connected capital to invest in the next big global agritech opportunity, what would it be? It’s a great question. Over the past few weeks, I have been struck by two major opportunities.

Automation:

During the recent Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program, the kiwi delegation heard repeatedly of the one key challenge facing farmers and growers in the US. Labour: The lack of. The cost of.

In Northern California, whole specialty crop types are under threat. The chances of asparagus being grown in the State five years from now are regarded as slim. Other traditionally grown specialty crops face the same fate.

Watermelons being hand-picked in Central Valley last month

Closer to home, this issue is also real. As someone who lives in the Bay of Plenty, I am very aware of the challenge that kiwifruit orchardists have in finding labour during the height of the picking season. Ditto, apple growers in the Hawkes Bay and vineyard owners in Marlborough.

As each of these sectors continue to grow and expand, this challenge becomes ever more real. The answer seems clear. As Dennis Donohue, Head of the Western Growers Technology & Innovation Center in Salinas, CA said to me last week; ‘The need for automation is now front and centre for our members.’

Environment

In New Zealand, concerns from consumers and regulators and the drive for carbon neutrality by 2050 will potentially add significant cost to the country’s primary sector. All at a time when the world needs to increase food production by 70% to feed an expected 10 billion mouths.

Sustainable farming is not just a New Zealand challenge. It’s a global one.

Like automation, environmental tech brings huge opportunity to our agritech sector. These are massive global challenges and they provide kiwi entrepreneurs with the potential for addressing what might just be the ‘next big global agritech challenge’.

Imagine what $100M of connected capital could do to invest in that opportunity. It’s time to stop imagining. It’s time to start building!

Through October, Agritech New Zealand is running its 2018 roadshow across the country. These and other major topics will be discussed at these meetings.

To find out more information about your local event, just click on the Eventbrite link below and register your free seat now.

This is about you and how you can grow your business. Reserve your free ticket today and learn how Agritech New Zealand is connecting, promoting and advancing the country’s agritech sector.