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Peter Wren-Hilton

All roads lead to Parliament on 2 July. Agritech to take centre stage

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At Agritech Unleashed, it was great to hear the positive commitment from the Hon Damien O’Connor towards New Zealand’s agritech sector.

It was a commitment that I heard repeated several times during National Fieldays from others including Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and Minister David Parker. Their vocal commitment to the sector is welcome.

The next step of course is ‘the action’. This process kicks off on Tuesday 2 July with the launch of a new Government publication, ‘From the Knowledge Wave to the Digital Age’ at Parliament. The launch is being hosted by Minister Parker and it will discuss how New Zealand can take the next steps towards developing higher value products and services that build on the productivity and prosperity of New Zealand. A key element to the event is the focus it will apply to leveraging opportunities in agritech.

I believe this is a significant moment for the sector. It reflects some of the great work being undertaken by the all of government agritech taskforce and from a personal perspective marks the next step in the evolution of Agritech New Zealand.

In the past week, we’ve seen the preview of the New Zealand agritech story and the establishment of a New Zealand focused agritech venture fund. We’ve hosted a major international delegation of agribusiness leaders and previewed the New Zealand launch of the Farm2050 Nutrient Initiative.

This is just the beginning.

On Sunday, I fly out to Northern California with 25 experienced NZ-based agri robotics and automation researchers & entrepreneurs to spend a week with our partners, Western Growers. Getting a better understanding of the labour challenges facing US farmers and growers provides New Zealand with the opportunity to reach out to new markets and build export sales. That same technology will help growers at home; kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty, apples in the Hawkes Bay and grapes in Marlborough. All suffer seasonal labour shortages and all will benefit from the increased application of on-farm and in-orchard harvesting automation.

The visit provides the perfect backdrop to the event on the 2nd. Agritech New Zealand’s Executive Council has been invited to join and meet Minister Parker in Parliament . The day will mark the next step in this organisation’s ongoing development and ability to support the wider agritech sector.

You can check out for the announcements once they are made on this website. If you are not already a member of Agritech New Zealand, then this is your opportunity to join. You can sign up at https://agritechnz.org.nz/join/ and become part of our amazing journey.

In New Zealand, agritech is finally taking centre stage.

Peter Wren-Hilton Peter is Executive Director of Agritech New Zealand and founder of Wharf42 in Tauranga. Peter helps organise major agritech conferences in New Zealand and offshore and connects early stage New Zealand agritech companies with international markets.