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As we once again adapt to the new normal, we find some things changing while others continue as usual. Earlier this month, we had the first face to face meeting of our new Executive Council. It was a good opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and what needs to happen going forward.  Together, we remain strongly focused on connecting, promoting and advocating for the interests of the agritech community.

Like everyone, we are currently adjusting our in-person events schedule and will feature some online sessions during September. Coming soon; please keep an eye out for information on the Global Agritech Futures series. This is being hosted in partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and key international partners. Plus, an update on the AgriFoodTech Investment Landscape with our partners at Finistere Ventures.

Our event with LocationTech, Mapping Ag, has been rescheduled to October 21 in Wellington. We will also be touring the country with our Agritech Connect Tour at the end of September. This is  an excellent opportunity for our community to come together and discuss topics of shared interest. In addition to progress updates on the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), there will also be focus sessions introducing new tools and services, and opportunities to help shape our shared ambitions for agritech in and from Aotearoa.

Earlier this month, we hosted a Connect Event with BioTechNZ, exploring cellular agriculture. If you would like to know more about cell-based meat, please review the presentation slides. The discussion was thoroughly engaging and included the role of New Zealand science and innovation in solving global food issues, as a separate effort from providing food from New Zealand. More information is also available here. Special thanks to Olivia Ogilvie of the University of Canterbury for sharing.

Agritech Skills

Many of you would have participated in the recent NZTech survey on challenges with accessing data and software skills locally and through immigration pathways. The results of this Critical Workers Border Exemption Survey were sent to the Government to raise awareness that the current interpretation of their rules at the border was making it almost impossible to get critical tech staff into New Zealand. We are progressing the Agritech Skills Reference Group and can still accept expressions of interest to be involved, please contact us.

New Zealand Agritech Story

I am pleased to provide an update on sharing the New Zealand Agritech Story with the world.

Following the launch of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) and our response to COVID-19, the time is right to leverage the positive international sentiment towards New Zealand and reactivate the Agritech Story in key offshore markets.

Together, with the Government agencies and innovative agritech businesses, we are piloting a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to deliver offshore agritech campaigns, initially targeting the United Kingdom (UK).

The learnings from the UK campaign will provide a blueprint for activation in other markets. Coming soon: campaign toolkit, with insights, messaging, images and videos to help you share the New Zealand Agritech story in your market.

Science and Research Updates

New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) and AgResearch are partnering to design and deliver a new future-focused eResearch Platform. The collaboration will foster expertise across both organisations and brings together a range of tools. For example, computing power, software, storage, and research networks, as well as mutual support networks for delivering user support and establishing critical mass through training and community building. Learn more here.

Consumer interest in animal welfare is steadily increasing and new technologies are providing new opportunities to quantify, improve and convey animal welfare states. In response, AgResearch, DairyNZ and Fonterra have  collaborated on the initiative, An animal-centric dairy industry enabled by digital technology as part of the AgResearch led New Zealand Bioeconomy in the Digital Age(NZBIDA) programme. They are hosting a webinar on Wednesday 1 September at 10:30am. If you’re interested in joining please email Jeremy Bryant.

Baseline of Digital Adoption

In other news, we have appointed insights agency Research First as the delivery partner for our survey on Digital Adoption in Primary Industries. Research First brings extensive experience in designing and delivering longitudinal studies within the rural sector and is highly regarded for its skill in using data to inform strategic thinking. Currently, we are designing the survey and would like to hear from those  interested in partnering on this work. Please contact us if you would like to know more.

Keep well in your lockdown bubbles and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Ngā mihi,

Chief Executive
AgriTech New Zealand 

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