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Peter Wren-Hilton

The Agritech Industry Transformation Plan has finally launched!

The Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) was finally launched by Hon Phil Twyford at Zespri’s HQ in Tauranga yesterday.

Phil was joined by Hon Damien O’Connor who took the opportunity to release Agritech New Zealand’s research report, Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed. The research provides a detailed analysis of the impact of agritech on New Zealand’s economy and the opportunity for productivity and export growth.

The launch of the Agritech ITP follows 15 months of engagement between industry and government. I have been fortunate to spend a large amount of my time working with ITP taskforce members, across a number of different government agencies; MBIE, NZTE, Callaghan Innovation, MPI and MFAT. It has been a really positive experience to see cross-agency collaboration at close quarters. Knocking down silos has never been so much fun!

At yesterday’s launch, I spoke about the role of industry in the delivery and implementation of the Plan. A number of Industry Reference Groups are being established to map the different high impact projects and workstreams contained within the Plan. Amongst other things, these will look at;

  • Global Opportunities
  • Investment
  • Commercialisation
  • Skills & Talent
  • Data Standards & Regulation
  • Government Process

The Industry Reference Groups will give industry, (including the research sector), the opportunity to work closely with the different agencies as they lead the workstreams. This input is critical to ensure the successful delivery and implementation of the Plan.

Whilst in Tauranga, Jacqui and I organised separate meetings for the Ministers with both PlantTech & Ballance. It was an opportunity to showcase some of the great innovation currently being undertaken in the Bay of Plenty.

At PlantTech, a number of their partners, including Robotics Plus, BlueLab, Eurofins, Trimax, Cucumber, Zespri & the University of Waikato talked about their work. It’s safe to say that both Ministers were impressed. Collaboration and transformation became the main themes of the day.

At Ballance, CEO Mark Wynne spoke about the positive strides being undertaken by the cooperative, particularly in the area of sustainability. The move away from being seen as a fertiliser company to a nutrient management one is playing a major role in the organisation’s transformation.

Back at the launch, I had referenced the day as being the end of the first chapter. The next chapter, the delivery and implementation part, starts today.

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.