Over the past three years, through my various roles at Agritech New Zealand, the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council and most recently, the Australian Agritech Association, I have been a very strong advocate for building an active and effective trans-Tasman collaborative agritech framework. The region provides an exciting global hub for agri-focused scientific research, a thriving agritech sector and increasing pools of investor capital. As both countries open up a mutual quarantine travel bubble, the rest of the world is looking closely at developments in our corner of the world. Building on that interest, learning more about the Australian agritech landscape and promoting the trans-Tasman region as a leading global agritech hub is front and centre for this virtual session.
I’m being joined by four great Australian panelists:
Andrew Coppin is the Chair, Australian Agritech Association. Andrew is also the Chair and Managing Director of Farmbot Monitoring Solutions, a rapidly growing early stage agritech company that focuses on remote water monitoring, controls and data.
John Harvey is Managing Director of AgiFutures Australia, a Rural Research & Development Corporation. I’ve been honoured to sit on two AgriFutures Australia steering committees; evokeAG & growAG.
Professor Owen Atkin is Director of CEAT; the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology. The Centre is a joint collaboration between the Australian National University & CSIRO, creating an agritech innovation precinct at the University campus in Canberra.
Dr Penny Schultz runs a family cattle and sheep operation at Field in South Australia’s Coorong region and is Chair of Limestone Coast Landscape. Penny is the immediate past Vice President of Livestock SA and Chair of the SA Cattle Industry Fund Board.
The panel brings together industry, research and government. It’s this unique combination which reflects New Zealand’s own collaborative model, best illustrated during the development of New Zealand’s Agritech Industry Transformation Plan.
During this virtual session, I’ll be seeking to get a better understanding of the current Australian agritech landscape and hopefully identify some of the opportunities to scale up increased trans-Tasman collaboration. As the world looks at us for post-COVID inspiration, I believe that this session will uncover some of the amazing opportunities that lie ahead.
As a member of the growAG steering committee, it’s great to see the hard work that has been undertaken by the team at AgriFutures over the past 18 months, finally come to fruition. The portal provides global agribusinesses, researchers, innovators and investors with a detailed view of the extensive agricultural research being undertaken by the 15 Australian RDCs (Rural Research & Development Corporations).
As a platform that provides external parties with unrivaled access to real-time commercial and collaborative research opportunity, I believe that growAG has hit the mark. For me, the experience has provided an invaluable opportunity to gain both an understanding and an insight into the Australian agrifood research and innovation landscape.
For everyone involved in this project, the next few months will demonstrate just how effective this model is for providing commercialisation input into the research process. If you want to learn more about growAG and the opportunity it is creating, check out the short video below:
On Thursday, I was joined by Dr. Victoria Hatton, COP26 Pacific Climate Change Advisor and Rob Ward, co-founder & CEO of UK-based ForwardFood.Tech as we announced the launch of the GroundUp.earth platform. CREDIT: Screen grab above taken by Victoria at Eden Park, Auckland, during the webinar. It’s the closest I will ever get to the playing surface!
GroundUp.earth is being designed to enable agribusinesses, agritech startups, researchers, governments and investors to collaborate globally to address some of the key climate and sustainability challenges facing farmers and growers today….and tomorrow.
If you or your organisation are working in the agrifood tech space and want to engage with partners around the world, then you can register your interest today, free of charge, at our landing page at www.groundup.earth.
To learn more about the platform and its potential impact on climate change, we strongly urge you to view the webinar below. And please…. register your interest!
Yesterday, Jacqui and I met Dr Victoria Hatton, COP26 Pacific Regional Climate Change Advisor, and the UK Department of International Trade team at the British Consulate in Auckland. Tonight we are speaking to Rob Ward, our Climate Summit partner in the UK.
Whilst some of the focus of our recent announcement has been on the COP26 event in Glasgow this coming November, this in fact only represents a key milestone in a much larger project. Building a global platform that connects agribusinesses, researchers, startups and investors is the larger theme. Only by developing a collaborative framework will we be able to collectively address the issues around climate change and its impact on farmers and growers worldwide.
With this planning now well underway, you have the unique opportunity to learn more by joining the first of our scheduled AgriFoodTech Climate Summit virtual events.
Taking place on Thursday 25 March at 8.00am NZT (Wednesday 24 March 7.00pm GMT), this session will introduce you to both COP26 and the plans for this global framework. Victoria, Rob and I will take you through the opportunity and how you and your organisation can engage. You can join this free session by registering here.
From tomorrow, we will begin to socialise the opportunity 1-2-1 with our global networks. For Wharf42, the next 24 months represent the most significant opportunity we have ever participated in. We hope you can join us on this journey.
The major theme of the event is the importance of education and the need to up-skill today’s agriculture workforce. It’s the strong belief that the agtech revolution of today, requires a ‘New Kind of Worker’ for tomorrow. With the emergence of game-changing robotic and automation technologies, many traditional manual roles will now become hybrid – humans and machines working together.
Dennis Donohue, Director of the Western Growers Center, will be joined by the California Secretary of Agriculture, Karen Ross. Together they will discuss the role of education and the significance of meeting today’s and tomorrow’s workforce needs. Wearing my New Zealand hat, I know that this is a conversation that is already underway. As the impact of automation increases across the production supply chain, so is the need to up-skill the workforce.
The Summit is also introducing the audience to opportunities in Mexico and LATAM. The reality is that a number of Western Grower members, particularly in California, Nevada and Arizona have moved south of the US border into Mexico and further south to LATAM. This region is growing in global significance. Once again, wearing my New Zealand hat, the Mexican and LATAM opportunity is being actively investigated by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.
The discussions next week will provide further input into the opportunity. From my own visit to Argentina in 2018 and discussions with folk in Chile, Columbia, Brazil and Mexico more recently, I can absolutely confirm this interest. The sessions next week cover both the challenges facing growers in this important region as well as an overview of the emerging start-up scene.
I strongly urge anyone interested in learning more about just how education is going to play an ever more important role in the development of the agricultural workforce, as well as get a better understanding on the emerging opportunities in Mexico and LATAM, to register for this Summit.