Following an awesome week in New Zealand (more to appear here shortly), Jacqui and I are delighted to have been able to join Dennis Donohue & Jeana Cadby from Western Growers in Western Australia.

We have traveled across the Tasman to learn more about the Australian agrifoodtech ecosystem and its growing impact on farmers and growers. The highlight of our time here in Perth is attending the 2024 evokeAG conference. This year, it’s a sold-out event with an expected 2,000 delegates attending. It’s the largest southern hemisphere agrifoodtech conference with representatives attending from over 20 countries.

As readers of the Wharf42 blog may know, I’ve sat on the evokeAG steering committee since its inception back in 2018. I’ve seen it grow exponentially and expect this year’s conference to be the largest and most impactful to-date. On Tuesday, I’ll be on the stage talking about AgriFuture’s growAG  platform and how it has helped transform Australia’s agrifoodtech sector’s global reach. I was fortunate to be invited to join its inaugural steering committee. It’s been an amazing experience to have been so close to the growth of such a rapidly emerging global force. There are lessons to be learnt by others. By increasing the transparency and visibility of Australia’s publicly-funded research sector, research, investment and commercialization opportunities that did not exist before have emerged. That will be a key message that I want to share on Tuesday.

Last night, Dennis, Jeana, Jacqui and I attended the ‘Let’s Connect’ Networking event, jointly hosted by Callaghan Innovation & AgriFutures Australia. It was great to spend time with AgriFutures Managing Director, John Harvey (pictured). I’ve worked with John for a number of years to help promote the trans-Tasman agrifoodtech story. In a global context, Dennis & Jeana’s presence in both New Zealand and Australia has helped accelerate that partnership and the incredibly important message it delivers.

The next few days promise to be epic. We have a number of scheduled 1-2-1 meetings as well as leveraging new opportunities presented by the main conference itself. I’ll share details of some of these meeting outcomes. They promise to not only showcase what’s possible through international collaboration, but specifically what opportunities exist for closer research and development engagement between California and the ecosystem ‘down-under’.

It promises to be a fascinating few day ahead.