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Kia ora Readers,

This is the first Agritech New Zealand newsletter since the terrible events in Christchurch on 15 March. Our thoughts and condolences go to everyone affected during these difficult times.

Looking ahead, Agritech New Zealand is a Channel Partner for this week’s BOMA Grow 2019 Agri Summit conference in Christchurch. I look forward to meeting some of the several hundred delegates expected to attend.

Looking ahead is the core message of this month’s newsletter. Three weeks ago, Agritech New Zealand hosted leading officials from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Callaghan Innovation at the first ‘All of Government’ Agritech Taskforce hui. The hui was held in Tauranga and followed meetings, late last year with Ministers Parker, O’Connor and Jones.

This is a significant initiative aimed at creating an agreed comprehensive strategy for agritech growth in New Zealand. The Taskforce, working in conjunction with Agritech New Zealand and industry partners, has identified some key initial areas of focus. These include:

1. Fuelling the growth of the ecosystem by:

  • Identifying new channels to source venture capital investment
  • Developing skills by creating an Agritech leaders’ skill development programme
  • Leveraging existing and developing new International partnerships

2. Acting as One Agritech Team

  • Industry, Government and research working together to create an agreed comprehensive strategy for agritech growth

3. Defining the Global Customer Opportunity and New Zealand’s Advantage

  • Creating and promoting New Zealand’s unique agritech story
  • Establishing New Zealand as a global thought leader in sustainability and agritech
  • Defining global problems which match our vision for New Zealand’s impact for example, automation, clean water and nutrients
  • Creating a transparent and comprehensive support system for companies looking to scale their business

The Taskforce is not a working group in waiting. Ministers want action and resource is being made available to make it happen. Over the coming weeks, I will be dedicating a significant amount of time travelling throughout New Zealand, meeting representatives from industry, research, Government and investment. As the various initial areas of focus are cemented, the outcome of these discussions will be shared with the Taskforce members.

Agritech New Zealand members will have a key role to play. We will be establishing formal workshops for some of the key themes of the initiative. These will input directly into the creation of the agreed comprehensive strategy. Soon, I will be sending an invitation to members to contribute to and benefit from this activity.

Looking ahead, planning for Agritech New Zealand’s major Day Two event at National Fieldays is well under way. It will coincide with the formal launch of the New Zealand agritech story and provide a platform to share some of our major new initiatives.

Finally, congratulations to the five finalists for the 2019 NZTE Best Hi-Tech Solution for the Agritech Sector at this year’s NZ Hi-Tech Awards; AgricomAporo – Robotics PlusBlueLabLivestock Improvement Corporation and Robotic Log Scaler – Robotics Plus. Five great solutions that demonstrate the depth and breadth of New Zealand’s agritech community.

There has never been a time when so much focus has been placed on our sector. The world of agriculture is changing rapidly and the new urgency being stoked by the Taskforce provides our country’s agritech businesses with a great opportunity to take a global lead.

These are exciting times. I hope that you can, and want to be, part of our journey.

Ngā mihi

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
Agritech New Zealand


Register for What Could Climate Change Mean for Farming in Canterbury event on 2 May at Blinc Innovation in Christchurch.Build your profile and visibility by entering the Fieldays Innovation Awards. Entries close on 1 May. Fieldays is 12-15 June in Hamilton.

Join Agritech New Zealand at thePrimary Industries New Zealand Summit and Awards, 1-2 July in Wellington. Includes changing consumer preferences, strategy review, climate change, geopolitical and trade outlooks. Register for updates.

Attend Techweek19’s official launch event on 20 May in Auckland or join the live webcast. Join Peter Wren-Hilton on 24 May for Techweek TV’s webcast panel discussion, Automation in Agritech – where to from here? Techweek TV also explores the use of IoT in Agritech5Gglobal wasteBlockchain and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Hawkes Bay based apple harvesting robots have made international news. Palmerston North startup, BioLumic has attracted significant overseas investment for its plant growing technology. They have created the first ultraviolet ‘crop yield enhancement system’ and secured $5 million in financing.

Curious about AI? Video presentations from the recent AI-DAY are now online. If you are considering expansion in Asia, check out the Future Foods Asia 2019 conference on 3-4 June in Singapore. This year’s themes include smallholder solutions, rising middle class and food 4.0.

Sign up as a mentor and inspire girls into tech. ShadowTech is on 23 May in Gisborne, 7 June in Auckland, 11 June in Christchurch, 14 June in Palmerston North, 18 June in Dunedin and 27 June in Hamilton. Hack Tairawhiti 2.0 returns 17-19 May in Gisborne and is also looking for business mentors and design thinkers to help companies accelerate ideas with tech innovation.

Entries are now open for the 2019 AmCham-DHL Express Success and Innovation Awards for companies doing business with the USA.

Considering exports? New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s (NZTE) Export Essentials workshops will help you grow faster. Forthcoming dates include Auckland, Kerikeri, New Plymouth and Wellington.

Join EdTechNZ and TechWomen on 13 June in Wellington, 20 June in Auckland and 26 June in Christchurch to discuss how to achieve diversity in the tech sector. Registrations opening soon.

Learn more about Standards New Zealand (SNZ)and its role in the digital economy, including AgriTech, AI, Blockchain, IoT and other emerging tech.

Attend the T-Tech19 conference, 6-7 May in Christchurch. Attend Automation for Business on 23 May in Auckland. The New Zealand Esri User Conference is 12-14 August in Auckland. The Canterbury Tech Summit is 12 September. The 2019 NZ Cyber Security Summit is 15 October in Wellington.

Agritech New Zealand is a membership funded organisation. If you are not already a member, please consider joining us.

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