Earlier this week, I returned from the 2018 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program where I was joined by more than 30 other kiwi agritech innovators, researchers and investors. We spent four days visiting farms, agritech hubs and learning about the significant challenges that US agriculture faces. A key takeaway from last week’s program was that New Zealand agritech competes with the best. This was confirmed during our delegation’s debrief; we had seen very little that we had not experienced at home.
While in California, Agritech New Zealand signed two major Strategic Partnership Agreements. The first with Western Growers, North America’s largest producer of fresh produce (vegetables, fruit and organics). The second with Farm2050, a collective of the world’s largest agritech focused venture funds and agribusinesses. Although these agreements are not directly connected, their outcomes certainly are! They provide New Zealand agritech businesses looking to enter the vast US market with;
- access to globally connected capital through the visibility generated by the Farm2050 collective.
- access to a ‘landing pad’ at the Western Growers Technology & Innovation Center in Salinas.
- access to farms, ranches and orchards across the USA.
- access to major potential agribusiness partners to trial or license New Zealand agritech.
Later this month, I am meeting Ministers Damien O’Connor and David Parker to discuss how Government can help support and facilitate the opportunities that these agreements generate. To further share the benefits of these agreements with our ecosystem, we are planning a roadshow throughout New Zealand during spring. Event dates will be posted on our relaunched website soon.
Closer to home, I have joined the steering committee for AgriFutures Australia’s conference, evokeAG , 19-20 February, 2019 in Melbourne. The event is being positioned as a Trans-Tasman initiative and a number of New Zealand speakers and presenters are expected to take part. Watch this space for more information!
Locally, Agritech New Zealand has been fulfilling its mandate to bring together ‘everyone and everything’ in the country’s rapidly growing agritech community. Representatives from PAANZ, the Sprout Accelerator, Blinc (formerly known as the Lincoln Hub) and NZTE have joined the organisation’s Executive Council. View its full membership here.
Building a strong and globally competitive New Zealand agritech sector remains a core driver of this organisation. The new agreements are testament to that and over the coming weeks I expect to be able to announce more major initiatives. This is a fantastic time to be part of our primary and tech industries. By working together, I firmly believe we can make a difference.
Watch Hank Giclas, Senior Vice President, Science, Technology and Strategic Planning at Western Growers discuss New Zealand agritech.
Discover the practical applications of Blockchain technology. Blockworks is 12 October in Auckland.
Join the New Zealand Cyber Security Summit on 18 October in Wellington for more on fighting the next generation of cyber attack.
Attend NZTE’s Export Essentials Workshops, held throughout New Zealand until November. Learn how to select a market, find channel partners, create a unique value proposition and plan successful market entry.