Covid-19 postpones AdvanceAg. South Australia’s commitment to Agritech didn’t.

Covid-19 postpones AdvanceAg. South Australia’s commitment to Agritech didn’t.

Overnight, the South Australian government introduced increased community restrictions because of 2 new COVID-19 cases in the State. At about 7.00pm (NZT), I received a call from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) advising me that Friday’s AdvanceAg conference had been postponed.

From a personal perspective, I have to admit – the news sucked.

I’ve been looking forward to catching up with South Australia’s agritech community for some time. Back in October 2020, the South Australian AgTech Advisory Group published the South Australian AgTech Strategic Plan, on behalf of the South Australian government. We were due to meet for breakfast on Thursday. On Wednesday evening, I had been invited to speak at an Adelaide AgTech Meetup meeting, whilst on Thursday, Elders, Australia’s largest rural services group, had invited a number of guests to a 2-hour presentation and Q&A session at their Adelaide HQ.

Like Friday’s AdvanceAg conference, all postponed until a later date.

My immediate thoughts are with those effected by both the pandemic and the impact of border closures, lockdowns and community restrictions. Last night’s call however also reinforced in my mind the importance and need to strengthen the framework for increased trans-Tasman collaboration in the AgriFoodTech space. The major global challenges that I had planned to focus on at Friday’s conference; food security, climate and the planning for a future agricultural workforce, have not gone away. These challenges will continue to grow and the time to tackle them is now, not at some unknown ‘later date’.

Despite last night’s news, I am already looking ahead to my next trip across the ditch. As an unpaid banker to Qantas and Air New Zealand, I now have enough airpoint credits to get me from Tauranga to Perth and back. Twice. So no excuse. Strengthening the trans-Tasman framework is a key priority and I look forward to working with partners and friends on both sides of the Tasman to make it happen.


Expression of Interest: New Zealand – Korea Technology Roadshow 2021

Expression of Interest: New Zealand – Korea Technology Roadshow 2021

On 25-26 August, the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea will be hosting a two-day (virtual) tech roadshow. Its purpose is to provide New Zealand technology companies with the opportunity to present to, and connect with, some of Korea’s leading partners, investors, industry players and businesses.

Why Korea?

  • The world’s 9th largest economy
  • The world’s leading digital infrastructure
  • Innovation and high skilled workforce
  • Ideal global test bed
  • Business hub of North East Asia
  • Booming e-commerce market
  • Business friendly frameworks

The New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea (‘The Kiwi Chamber’) are seeking expressions of interest from New Zealand technology companies in the agritech, AI, cleantech and fintech spaces. New Zealand companies working in these areas are highly valued in Korea and the opportunity to develop collaborative partnerships is real.

If you want to learn more, please contact Gina Park of the Kiwi Chamber at

Alternatively, please complete the Expression of Interest Form here.

I look forward to joining the team (remotely) on the 25th. I hope you can to!

Join New Zealand’s ‘Space for Planet Earth Challenge’

Join New Zealand’s ‘Space for Planet Earth Challenge’

As Wharf42 increases its focus on leveraging agrifood technologies to tackle both agricultural production and agrifood supply chain greenhouse gas emissions, we are delighted to be able to support this fantastic initiative as an ‘Official Collaborator’ with the team at Spacebase.

Spacebase, in collaboration with Planet has announced the launch of the Space for Planet Earth Challenge. The Challenge is seeking innovative ideas to address carbon sequestration and coral health in the region. You can join the opening kick-off event on 2 August in Christchurch (either in person, or via livestream). You can register your interest here.

The text below is taken from the Spacebase website. It resonates fully with Wharf42’s own values and mission to address our changing climate. A very sincere High 5 to Eric & Emeline for their enthusiasm and endeavour in supporting the build of New Zealand’s emerging space technology ecosystem. This Challenge is a great endorsement of that work.

A Climate Emergency

We are in a climate emergency.  Without any intervention, the planet may be 4 to 5 degrees warmer by the end of the century, rendering much of the planet mostly uninhabitable with extreme weather, sea level rise, and mass extinctions of life.  We have an urgent need to work together and engage a broader community of researchers and innovators in the region to address the problems created by climate change.

Today, we have unprecedented access to satellite remote sensing data and technologies that can help us better detect, monitor and measure these changes.  The computational capability to analyze this data today is critical in making better management decisions and creating policies to reverse the damage caused to the Planet.

Leveraging Satellite Data

Satellite remote sensing has been the principal method of monitoring the impact of climate change. New satellite data, and wider access to computing and analysis tools, are enabling researchers to develop new solutions. Setting out a specific climate related challenge, with a deadline, would provide an incentive to researchers and innovators to translate research into practical tools and also encourage new teams to develop their skills to address these challenges.

The prize challenge can be used to reward successful advances in the state-of-the-art while creating opportunities for space education and outreach, and stimulate economic growth and development in the sector.

The Challenge 

There are two challenges aimed at two levels; University / Startup &High School.

University/Startup Level

Carbon Sequestration
Using satellite data, in combination with other data sources, help develop verifiable methods to measure carbon sequestration on land and in coastal areas.

High School Level

Coral Health
Help improve the monitoring of coral health changes due to climate change using satellite technology.

Excited by the opportunity? Then tune in to the official opening on 2 August and register your interest here.



Have you registered for Ireland’s SEED Agritech Global Leaders Forum?

Have you registered for Ireland’s SEED Agritech Global Leaders Forum?

I’m delighted to have been invited by Ireland’s All Business Post Group to take part in their Agritech Global Leaders Forum. It forms part of a new programme being developed called the SEED Summit.

It’s a virtual event and takes place next Thursday – 8 July.

The SEED Summit series of agritech events is the first time these events have been curated in such a format. The Global Leaders Forum session looks at the visionary and potential disruptive developments in agritech as the sector revolutionises agricultural and food output. I’m delighted to be sharing the platform with Hadar Sutovsky, Vice President External Innovation, ICL Group, Israel and Theo Kanellos, Director Business Development and Allliances, Zoetis International.

The Summit organisers’ recognise New Zealand as being a global leader in agritech ecosystem development. As national agritech ecosystems begin to form across the world, including the nascent Agritech Ireland, creating a global network of connected entrepreneurs, investors and corporates becomes more important.

New Zealand’s presence and input at the Summit is enhanced by Brendan O’Connell, CEO of AgritechNZ, who will be talking about agricultural innovations that solve real problems. Brendan will be joined by Cathal Fitzgerald, Senior Investment Director Food and Agriculture, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. Cathal visited New Zealand back in June 2018 as part of a Farm2050 delegation and attended the launch of AgritechNZ at Mills Reef Winery in Tauranga. It’s great to see that linkage continuing!

Next Thursday’s event is expected to attract leading CEOs of Irish and international agribusinesses, policy influencers in Europe and key global institutions, as well as the leading academics leading the advancement of research in the sector. The All Business Post Group has a solid reputation for curating a number of Ireland’s leading conferences and events.

To register for next week’s Global Leaders Forum, visit

evokeAG. goes bi-coastal. Two events will take place in 2022 – Perth and Sydney

evokeAG. goes bi-coastal. Two events will take place in 2022 – Perth and Sydney

AgriFutures Australia today officially announced details of their revised programme for evokeAG 2022. With the ongoing global pandemic and borders remaining closed, the decision has been made to host two one-day events; in Perth & in Sydney.

It’s great to be able to finally to share this news. I have once again been invited to be part of the evokeAG steering committee and my visit to Australia next month includes a detailed session with John Harvey and the evokeAG team at AgriFutures. Building a programme that contains a strong trans-Tasman element remains our strong joint ambition.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll simply copy and paste some of the content from today’s formal announcement. As the programme develops over the coming weeks, particularly with a New Zealand focus, expect more updates via this blog.

‘In a response to continued uncertainty with interstate and international travel, evokeAG. is going bi-coastal in 2022, taking the region’s premier agrifood innovation event to both Perth, WA and Sydney, NSW.

After two successful events in 2019 and 2020, evokeAG. will once again bring the agrifood community together – including farmers, corporates, agribusiness, researchers, startups, scale-ups, investors and government – to look at what’s next in farming technology and food innovation.

John Harvey, Managing Director of AgriFutures Australia, says that committing to host two events in 2022 is critical to supporting farmers, by driving innovation. While it has been great to connect with global stakeholders digitally over the past year, it is hard to replace in-person conversations and the energy created by bringing like-minded individuals into the same room.

“We have seen so much growth across agritech and food innovation, not just in the last 12-months but really the last three-years, with Australian and New Zealand innovators attracting increased investment and global demand each year,” said Mr Harvey.

As local and global agrifood innovation continues to mature, and grow increasingly collaborative, delivering these world-class technologies back to farmers and growers is critical.

“Working with farmers to increase profit and adopt sustainable practices is critical, connecting agrifood innovators with farmers is the key,” Mr Harvey continues, “there are a lot of great initiatives that support this, including evokeAG.

The evokeAG. events will take place in Perth and Sydney in 2022, making it easier for people to access one of the events, regardless of border restrictions’.

Wharf42 at National Fieldays 2021

Wharf42 at National Fieldays 2021

With just one week to go, it’s great to be preparing to attend a 120,000 in-person event! To our followers outside New Zealand, this is the expected attendance at the 4-day National Fieldays 2021 event at Mystery Creek in 7 days time.

Fieldays is the largest agricultural event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It presents New Zealand’s agricultural and primary sectors with an international marketplace to advance agriculture, while honouring its three pillars – innovation, education, globalisation.

The one thing sadly missing this year of course will be the traditional delegations of international attendees. COVID and strict border controls mean that few folk will be traveling to Mystery Creek from overseas, bar a few welcome guests from across the Tasman. It’s therefore a particular honour this year to be directly involved in one of the truly ‘global’ sessions taking place next week.

On Thursday morning, I’ll be joining Laura Clarke, the UK High Commissioner to New Zealand, and a group of international panellists, to talk about Climate, CO26 and the role of Agritech. As co-host of the AgriFoodTech Climate Summit at COP26 in November, this promises to be an interesting session. It will provide a platform to talk about the scheduled event and also provide the opportunity to announce something much closer to home.

Climate, Agritech and Cleantech are three words I expect to hear a lot of next week. With the Climate Change Commission’s final report being published by the government today, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production and the wider agrifood supply chain will become high priorities for farmers and growers alike. Regulation can only do so much. What farmers and growers need is the technology and the tools necessary to enable them to meet new targets.

That will be the key theme of my presentation next Thursday. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is completely understood. So is the investment into accelerating our research capability to make this happen.