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Kia ora readers,

It’s great to be back in New Zealand. Having just returned from the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, where I joined 20+ New Zealand agritech entities on the Callaghan Innovation-led agritech mission, leveraging our expertise globally is especially topical. At a time when Brexit is dominating the local news and with both the UK and Ireland’s agriculture sectors facing significant disruption, the opportunity for New Zealand agritech exporters to Europe has never been higher.

To support kiwi agritech companies looking to leverage the opportunity, Agritech New Zealand has begun discussions to establish formal landing pads for in-bound New Zealand agritech companies in both countries. These landing pads will be supported by a complete ecosystem ‘wrapper’; desk space, access to in-market agri expertise, access to research capability and support, potential Government grants, access to investors and perhaps most importantly, the ability to validate your product and service locally.

Agritech New Zealand will be working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and other in-market Government agencies to support this initiative. The UK Department of International Trade and Enterprise Ireland are providing additional on the ground assistance and support.

Establishing an in-market presence in Europe follows our work in North America where several early stage agritech companies have successfully established themselves. Our ongoing engagement with the Western Growers Technology and Innovation Center in Salinas, Northern California, is testament to this strategy.

This is important for the broader New Zealand economy. Over the past five years, New Zealand’s exports of agritech products and services has flatlined at approximately $1.5 billion per year. Given the size of our primary sector, we believe this underscores the sector’s real potential. By building a global network of in-market agritech-based landing pads, we believe we can greatly accelerate and scale this dollar number.

Building New Zealand’s agritech capability is a prerequisite to strengthening our position in the world’s agritech marketplace. To support this, Palmerston North based Sprout Accelerator has announced that pre-registrations for its 2020 Accelerator programme are now open. Sprout plays an invaluable role within New Zealand’s agritech ecosystem. For those unfamiliar with its activities, Sprout, a member of Agritech New Zealand, is a six month business accelerator designed for the next generation of agritech and future food companies. By helping develop a pipeline of new emerging agritech companies, the Sprout Accelerator is helping build the country’s longer term agritech capability.

Now that I am back in New Zealand, my immediate focus has turned to the All of Government agritech taskforce and its Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). On Monday, I will be attending a hui at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga in Hastings to enable Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and industry to provide feedback on the Government’s draft agritech strategy document.

Proposals for planned actions and initiatives under this draft document will then be submitted to Government Ministers. A number of Government agencies are currently supporting different streams within the Plan’s strategy. Agritech ITP will be the first sector plan to be formally submitted and I will update, more fully on what this might look like in next month’s newsletter.

These are hugely significant times for the country’s agritech sector. Whether onshore or offshore, by working together, we can continue to build and scale our capacity to increase export sales, as well as secure the adoption by farmers and growers of agri-technology at home.

Join us as we accelerate the opportunity.

Ngā mihi,

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
Agritech New Zealand


In local news, a robotic asparagus harvester is helping address major labour challenges in North America. Read more.

This year’s TIN Report celebrates 20 years of tracking Kiwi companies. Join us at the 2019 TIN Report Launch and Awards on 31 October in Auckland.

In other news, BioTechNZ’s Zahra Champion explains how gene editing tech may help slow climate change. The IoT Alliance backs New Zealand’s first 5G rollout. Read more.

Meet Flying Kiwis and young achievers at the NZ Hi-Tech Awards alumni event on 27 November in Auckland. Also, 3 December in Wellington and 4 December in Christchurch.

Access your 10 percent member discount for Advancing Digital IT and Law and Advancing Women in Technical Industries and Roles, 25 November in Auckland.

Empower our next generation of environmental innovators. Entries are now open for Callaghan Innovation’s #cprize2019. Applications close 8 December.

Meet our TechWomen, learn how they kick started their careers and what they do on the job. Watch the new #TechWomenNZ online series here.

Register to attend evening sessions on the Xero Small Business Roadshow touring now until 5 December. No registration required for daytime drop-in sessions. Find your location here.

Discover how AI is transforming healthcare at the AI Forum’s launch of AI in New Zealand Health Report. Join us on 22 October in Auckland. Meanwhile, read Towards Our Intelligent Future.

Are you secure online? Make sure of it. CERT’s Cyber Smart Week is 14-18 October. Also attend the 2019 NZ Cyber Security Summit and 2019 NZ Digital Identity Summit, next Wednesday in Wellington.

The Asia Agri-Tech Expo & Forum is 31 October to 1 November in Taiwan. Attend evokeAg, 18-19 February, 2020 in Melbourne. The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit returns to San Francisco March 17-18, 2020.

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