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Friday, July 1st, 2022

TIN’s third annual Agritech Insights Report offers significant analysis of New Zealand’s agricultural technology export sector.

AUCKLAND, 1 July 2022 – Technology Investment Network (TIN) has released its third annual New Zealand Agritech Insights Report, providing compelling analysis of the size and scope of the country’s leading Agritech export companies, along with a pipeline of promising Agritech companies.

Launched at an event at Waikato Innovation Park last night, the report provides a closer look into New Zealand’s agricultural technology sector based on data from TIN’s 2021 survey results, including size and significance, key export markets, investment opportunities, and a comprehensive directory of nearly 110 Pipeline Agritech companies — those from pre-revenue up to $3.5m revenue.

Agritech continues to be one of the biggest and most innovative sectors in the TIN200, New
Zealand’s 200 largest technology ‘exporters’. According to the 2021 TIN Report, it is a $1.6B industry, providing 11.4% of the TIN200 total revenue.

“The report celebrates the hard-won success and growth of the dynamic Agritech sector that plays to all the strengths of our historical reliance on farmers, horticulturalists, acquaculturalists and apiarists,” said Greg Shanahan, managing director of TIN.

“The Government’s multi-agency Agritech Industry Transformation Plan is focusing on growing the sector into a stronger economic contributor and increasing exports from the most innovative and forward-thinking Agritech companies,” Mr Shanahan added.

The industry is dominated by the Animal and Crop Health, Data Solutions and Post-Harvest sub-sectors, building on the international success of established New Zealand Agritech companies such as Gallagher Group, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) and TOMRA Fresh Foods. Together, these three Waikato-based companies were responsible for just over 50% of the TIN200 Agritech revenue in 2021.

“This year’s TIN Agritech Insights Report is another marker in the growth of the sector, and importantly, the growing levels of collaboration that will enable still higher growth rates in coming years,” said Brendan O’Connell, Chief Executive of AgriTech New Zealand, the membership-funded organisation that promotes opportunities and challenges raised by Agritech.

Key statistics on the Agritech sector (taken from the TIN NZ Agritech Insights Report 2022, and based on 2021 TIN Report data)

  • 11.0% of TIN200 companies are Agritech firms, and together they generated $1.6B in revenue in 2021; 11.4% of the total TIN200 revenue
  • TIN200 Agritech companies generated $118m revenue growth; 8.2% of TIN200 growth
  • Total Agritech exports: $814.9.m (51.1% of total revenue)
  • Export growth: $49.0m (up 6.4% on 2020)
  • North America is the largest export market for Agritech (19.6% of total export revenue)
  • Average sector wage: $94,956 (TIN200 average wage: $88,005)
  • Average revenue per employee: $296,197 (TIN200 average: $243,570)
  • Investment in Sales and Marketing: $261.7m (up 7.1% on 2020)
  • Investment in Wages and Salary: $511.7m (up 8.6% on 2020)
  • Investment in R&D: $115.6.m (up 6.5% on 2020)
  • Average company age: 25 years (TIN200 average: 28 years)
  • 5-year CAGR: 14.6% (TIN200 5-year CAGR: 10.9%)
  • More than 5,000 people employed globally with 72.5% of those in New Zealand (3,910 people)
  • Auckland/Northland and Central North Island are the regions with the highest number of Agritech companies (29 each); followed by Hamilton/Waikato (24) and Canterbury/Upper South Island (21)

Key Agritech sector insights (taken from the TIN NZ Agritech Insights Report 2022, and based on 2021 TIN Report data)

  • High-tech Manufacturing continues to dominate the sector

New Zealand’s Agritech sector is primarily dominated by High-tech Manufacturing companies, which make up 13 of the 22 Agritech firms in the TIN200. High-tech Manufacturing firms, such as Gallagher Group, TOMRA Fresh Food and NDA Group, account for more than 70% of the sector’s revenue.

  • Opportunities for investment as global economy recovers

Investment in the Agritech sector followed the trend of investment levels across all sectors – a sharp spike in investment in 2021 as the global economy started to recover from the impact of COVID-19 in 2020. Agritech companies in this report (TIN200 and pipeline) received more than $15m of investment across 11 deals, which includes both seed and follow-on funding

  • Labour shortages creates opportunities and innovation

Domestic labour shortages and border restrictions have forced Agritech companies to look at automation and data integration to improve productivity and drive growth. This has created opportunities for a range of technologies, such as cow wearables, crop health and harvesting. The disruption to regular supply chains has also led to Agritech companies re-evaluating and streamlining their approach to search for more cost-effective alternatives.

The New Zealand Agritech Insights Report was commissioned by the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), a partnership involving the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation and AgriTech NZ; with additional support from ASX, Hamilton City Council and NZ Growth Capital Partners.

About Technology Investment Network

Technology Investment Network (TIN) is a private company established in 1999 to facilitate the growth of the technology export sector in New Zealand. The company’s goal is to contribute to the New Zealand economy by supporting the growth of, large, sustainable, New Zealand based, global technology businesses.


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Posted in Media Release, AgriTechNZ News

Nominees for AgriTech New Zealand Executive Council

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Proposed Nominees for AgriTech New Zealand Executive Council seats

Major Corporate Nominees

Ben Wakely, PwC NZ

The scope and pace of change being thrust on the food and fibre sector is overwhelming. Right now, we are facing some significant structural challenges that require strategic focus, action and urgency. I believe AgriTechNZ has a strong role to play in the interface between the public and private sectors, in influencing the direction of change. 

As an experienced strategy, transformation and commercial advisor with strong food and fibre sector experience, I have the expertise, insights and networks to support AgriTechNZ in making a difference for its members, for the sector and for Aotearoa. High quality governance will be essential to the organisation’s success.  I have relevant governance experience and am highly motivated to be part of an Executive Council that can make challenging decisions and bring the right perspectives on a range of complex issues.

View LinkedIn profile here

Blair Smith, LIC

I believe the crucial ingredient to success in our sector is collaboration. AgriTechNZ has shown itself to be a leader in this, creating connections and fostering a growing ecosystem within NZ and increasingly connecting that with the booming global agritech scene. I would be honoured to have the opportunity to directly support and influence that work as a member of the Executive Council. Currently I am CEO of Agrigate, a wholly owned subsidiary of LIC, where I lead a team developing apps and APIs that empower farmers by making it easy for them to connect and share data about their farms with the people and systems that need to know. 

I’m no stranger to farming having grown up on a sheep, beef & deer farm in the King Country where I still relish a weekend on the tractor cutting silage or helping dad draft lambs. Career wise I started out studying law, eventually completing a Masters degree where my thesis focused on emissions trading and agriculture. Environmental issues remain a big driver for me today; but having been introduced to the transformative power of technology while working at Fonterra I’m now more convinced that it’s technology not legal arguments that will solve problems and realise opportunities along our agricultural value chains – both on farm and on the plates of our customers. If successful I would draw strongly on my experience and networks to ensure AgriTechNZ continues to build an ecosystem of agritech innovators here in Aotearoa that can have a transformative impact globally.

View LinkedIn profile here

Iain Boyd, ANZCO Foods

For 15 years I’ve been working to assist NZ businesses to gain advantage through the use of technology. I’ve worked in a range of industry verticals & been fortunate enough to hold senior technology management positions in a number of organisations. My executive career has helped me gain a pragmatic and execution focussed approach to engaging stakeholders, making sure all views are heard in collaboration and furthering the mission of the entities I’ve worked with through strategic direction and partnership.

I believe AgriTech to be NZ’s next biggest export to the world. We have such an awesome community of innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and creatives and we lead the world in our AgriTech solutions. If lucky enough to serve on the AgriTechNZ Executive Council I will work tirelessly to further the mission of AgriTechNZ driving stakeholder collaboration, leveraging my relevant networks & breaking down silos, engaging & leading digital strategy, promoting industry-wide initiatives and AgriTechNZ’s purpose, ensuring we have a data led approach to ensuring our work is getting the right outcome for member organisations.

View LinkedIn profile here

Sarah Adams, Gallagher Group

For the last 25 years I have worked in the agricultural industry bringing innovation into traditional agriculture to help the industry make some quantum shifts in productivity. With the introduction of technology, I have grown a number, of small start-up agricultural companies into substantial globally recognised businesses. Using innovation to create value added products and transitioning businesses from selling products to solutions has been key to the success. In my current position of Global Strategy and New Ventures Manager at Gallagher Animal Management I am introducing open innovation and digital technologies to help our customers solve some the largest challenges they are facing.  When not at work I am a ‘hands on’ farmer on our hill country sheep and beef property on north side of the Raglan Harbour. This ‘grass roots’ farming experience enables me to clearly understand the problems farmers are trying to solve.

My passion for revolutionising the agriculture sector and a desire to help forge closer collaboration and nurture talent within the agritech ecosystem are the drivers behind my nomination for the AgriTechNZ Executive Council. I believe my substantial networks in the global agritech ecosystem, ability to form collaborations, exploit opportunities and find innovative solutions to the challenges the industry faces are what I can bring to the Executive Council.

View LinkedIn profile here

Shivani Jagga, Microsoft New Zealand

I’m a sales and business management professional with 20+ years of experience. Working within Microsoft and leading the Agri sector has given me a deep understanding and appreciation of the challenges and opportunities faced by the New Zealand Agri Sector. I have a passion for the Agri Industry and making positive change and connecting Agriculture and Technology to strengthen NZ’s Primary Sector. I have led effective teams to deliver business outcomes, driven adoption of technology to enable business success, measured business success and led improvement initiatives with a strong focus on Sustainability for Agribusiness which is to accelerate our journey to a better future.

My work with Microsoft teams such as working with FarmLands, Silver Fern Farms, Zespri and LIC, deeply embedded into the agri-sector in New Zealand. I have worked on projects big and small to ensure that organisations are getting optimal results from their data. New Zealand is an innovative nation and having worked closely with some of the smartest and most agile Saas organisation and partners. This includes the impressive work of Pamu(opens in a new window) and Vodafone Teams Connect solution which in COVID times was able to create a nation of connected farmers coordinating 114 farms. And also Fusion5’s solutions with Primary(opens in a new window) ITO. From winegrowing to beekeeping, milking to horse-breeding, Primary ITO supports learners across the entire people, food and fibre sector, Fusion5 (opens in a new window)accelerated their transformation their outdated system into a modern tech platform. This means I have a strong grasp of what modern agritech customers need and require to thrive and something I would like to serve as being part of the Executive Council team. I look forward to serving on the AgritechNZ Council and being part of an amazing team.

View LinkedIn profile here

Tim Wixon, Bank of New Zealand

I founded and lead BNZ’s scaling Technology Industries portfolio of software, software-enabled, high-tech manufacturing, high-tech infrastructure and biotechnology businesses which numbers over 1500 clients and proposition delivered through a network of over 35 tech focussed bankers across New Zealand, with recent additions to the capital part of BNZ’s proposition (Capital, Connections, Capability at all stages of tech business’ lifecycles) being Revenue Based Financing and Project Scale Up.  I have been with BNZ for almost 8 years in frontline, leadership and strategy roles (all building BNZ’s technology industries offering), following an early career in securities law.  I’m a qualified barrister and solicitor, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and hold a Masters of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, along with degrees in law, finance and economics.

I would bring a strong understanding of technology business models, the technology industries, financing, banking and a wide lens across both agritech and non-agritech tech businesses across the New Zealand economy to AgriTechNZ. I am keen to join the AgriTechNZ Executive Council both to learn and to help shape (from an informed vantage point) and grow New Zealand’s agritech market and opportunity. New Zealand has a strong heritage in Agriculture and a technology industry that is going from strength to strength – AgriTech is a clear opportunity in relation to which NZ could lead the world, but, from observations during 8 years in the technology industries at BNZ, is an opportunity yet to be (fully) realised.

View LinkedIn profile here

Other Corporate Nominees

Jason Hanley, FarmIQ

I am a technology leader with a strong focus on product delivery. My career of over 20 years in technology has brought me to FarmIQ where I am passionate about solving problems for farmers through technology.  If elected I will bring my experience from many domains, from large corporates to start ups, across many roles from product management, agile consultancy, to executive leadership.  Only having been in the Agritech sector for just over 3 years I believe I will bring fresh perspectives and new voice to the council. I will also bring the passion I have for making NZ Inc and AgriTechNZ successful, not just in NZ, but on the world stage.

Collaboration across NZ Agritech and the primary industries is the only way that NZ and its agricultural communities are going to lean in to, meet, and exceed the increasing regulation and environmental commitments.  There is already a large among of activity across the industry looking to introduce rules, regulation, compliance, and if we work more closely together, we can achieve so much more in proving NZ Farming is already highly sustainable and environmentally focused. As a nation we are intrinsically linked to our whenua, we can be world leaders in demonstrating what it means to be responsible stewards of the land while delivering world leading primary industry products. I want to be part of that collaboration, and I want to be part of organisations that bring Agritech closer together.

View LinkedIn profile here

Mark Begbie, PlantTech Research Institute

I have spent my professional career working at the interface of new product introduction and scientific research, with the focus on delivering economic and societal impact.  It started with the realisation that I wanted to work on varied and impactful science, and that better suited me to R&D in the exploding telecoms market than a career in academic research.  With the telecoms bubble bursting, a new door opened in what is now called the Triple Helix space – where companies, Government, and research collaborate to create new opportunities.  It is the years spent in this space, first as a technologist then as a manager and a leader, that has given me direct experience of many models and activities across Europe – and led to the agritech sector here in New Zealand.  Supporting companies to create success through access to relevant and exploitable science outcomes and capabilities is what gets me going in the morning.

AgritechNZ is a great power for good.  I am a huge supporter of what it has achieved both domestically and internationally, and firmly believe that it has a key role to play in supporting the transformation of our sector in the face of the climate catastrophe and technological change that will never again be as slow as it is today.  I want to contribute my experience, gained internationally, to support AgritechNZ in supporting its members to flourish.  I will be an advocate for support of innovation and risk taking within the sector and with Government, to ensure they provide the support that will make the most difference.  I believe the Research Science and Innovation green paper consultation is a critical opportunity for us to leverage for positive change, and I would relish the opportunity to put my effort behind AgritechNZ as we navigate this process.

View LinkedIn profile here

SMES & Startup Nominees

Andrew Cooke, Rezare Systems

I am one of the founders and Managing Director of Rezare Systems (now part of the Map of Agriculture Group). My background is in agricultural research, livestock recording, and data interoperability. Many of you will know me from our collaborative work in defining open specifications for data interoperability in the agricultural sector. My work takes me across agricultural technology in New Zealand, Australia, and internationally. I try to be very collaborative and enjoy introducing people and businesses to each other, looking for ways to help sector businesses be successful and contribute to the profitability and sustainability of the farming and growing sector. 

I intend to bring that experience to the AgriTechNZ Executive Council: supporting the AgriTechNZ members who engage with me to share and represent their views, and bringing my experience in agricultural tech, adoption, and data challenges to AgriTech New Zealand’s projects and strategy.

View LinkedIn profile here

Emma Buchanan, Soter

I am the Managing Director of Soter, a provider of Farm Environmental Plans including Greenhouse Gas advice and resource consents. I have sat with farmers for nearly a decade, learning how they manage data and navigate the compliance burden. With my experience managing data warehouse projects I have combined my farming and data geekdoms to create software to automate much of the process for them.

I can bring to the AgriTech board a background in project and data management, and day to day on farm learning to inform advice to Government and the organisation with real-world, real-time experience. I hold a Bachelor of Business Studies, Post Grad Dip in Resource and Environmental Planning, the Advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management Certificate with Agricultural Greenhouse Gas endorsement. I am an HBRC, BOPRC and WRC Approved provider of FEMPs, Dairy NZ approved provider of Sustainable Milk Plans and I have facilitated workshops for the HBRC, HB Fruit Growers, Beef and Lamb NZ and the Deer Industry. I have worked on horticulture and dairy farms, and until recently owned a sheep, beef and cropping farm in Central Hawkes Bay.

View LinkedIn profile here

Gareth Hill, Cropsy

I have been passionate about agritech for so long, the term agritech didn’t exist. I spent over a decade at a CRI developing disease forecasting and decision support systems for the kiwifruit and wine sectors, and preaching the potential of data and technology to anyone and everyone. During a comparatively brief stint at a data consultancy, I became the science advisor for Cropsy, an agritech start-up working in the wine sector. I have since confirmed to myself that agritech is where I want to be and have taken on a permanent role at Cropsy managing the research and innovation programmes.

My mix of biology, data science, and strategy roles over the years would be a huge benefit to the AgriTechNZ Executive Council as I can understand the problems both the agritech and agricultural sectors face from a number of perspectives. The key perspective I am missing is that of the grower, but as a huge proponent of human-led design, co-innovation, and simply talking to people, I see this as an opportunity. I am looking forward to working closely with growers to understand their perspectives and ensuring their needs are baked into agritech solutions from day one to start shifting the dial from technology push to solution pull.

View LinkedIn profile here

Kenneth Irons, Agsorted

The main purpose of AgriTechNZ is to create an environment in which its members can thrive, achieving their own business goals while also delivering value to farmers and growers and others in the food and fibre value chains.  Creating that environment means building relationships with Government Ministers, Directors General, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Levy Bodies, Banks and Fund Managers, Iwi Leaders, Universities and CRIs, and with sister agritech organisations in key overseas markets – and then based on those relationships; developing and implementing policies and projects that improve AgriTechNZ’s members’ access to capital, talent and customers.  As the SME representative and also as AgritechNZ Chair over this past two-year term, with the ITP and many other strategic initiatives, I’ve built these relationships, helping the Executive Council, our CEO and members create a vibrant, respected, growing agritech sector, delivering value through better data standards, improved interoperability, and increased farmer appetite for digital adoption.

While we have many tangible results to celebrate as evidenced by growth across our SME sector of an impressive 30%, and growing membership with high retention rates, there remains much more to gain across all member categories, but especially for the SME and Start-Up category. So I invite and appreciate your support for a second of two permitted terms, so we can capitalise on the hard-won relationships built.  With significant NZ Government support as evidenced in the recent budget announcements of $339M Climate Action Fund, $200M Regional Innovation Fund and $100M Business Growth Fund, we can not only accelerate our members’ NZ growth rates, but also achieve more in offshore markets too.  We have a strong relationship with Agritech Australia who share our appetite to achieve more by presenting a combined voice to world markets, and untapped opportunities with key countries including Ireland, Israel, UK and more.

View LinkedIn profile here

Matt Flowerday, GPS-it

I am the founder of GPS-it, a specialist mapping company that has been in business for 20+ years. As an early innovator in the agritech space, I’m passionate about agritech and always looking for opportunities to be involved in growing and telling the NZ Agritech Story to the world. I’ve spent many years travelling overseas to look at emerging technology and how it can be applied or, in some cases, how it could be done better!.. and firmly believe there is a significant opportunity for NZ agritech businesses that has yet to be unlocked.

I have a strong governance background as a chartered member of the Institute of Directors, with strengths in strategy and technology, which I will bring to the Executive Council. I hold several directorships across a range of Agri-focused businesses, I grew up on a dairy farm and I am a kiwifruit grower, so I have a unique insight into a range of challenges and opportunities across the primary and tech sectors.

View LinkedIn profile here

Melissa Baer, Webtools Agritech

I am interested in serving on the AgriTechNZ Executive Council because of the great work they do, but also the exciting opportunity I see for New Zealand in this space. An industry full of passion and commitment and deeply seeded in the psyche (and GDP) of New Zealanders, it’s what we (as a Canadian now New Zealander) are made of. I have come from a very non tech background and have made the full leap to technology. I’m emboldened and excited for what these powerful tools can bring to the sector. More than that I’m excited by the people who are creating and using the tools more than anything, because they are just tools after all and it’s up to us how we decide to use them and for what purpose.

A bit about my background, I grew up rurally on a small farm and like many small farms in North America we were always trying to make it commercially viable. I then went on to build a variety of businesses from marketing of farm products to not for profit food businesses to agriculture tourism and even agriculture education programs. I have experience in every business model across the supply chain, from growing through to end consumer retail. I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Webtools Agritech here in New Zealand, serve on the NZTech board and am actively involved in mentoring young tech entrepreneurs around Christchurch’s eco system. I bring a slightly different lens to the conversation having come from Waterloo Ontario Canada, where tech boomed during the Blackberry era and we saw the merging of agriculture and tech at that time due to the proximity of agriculture to the city. Ultimately, I came to New Zealand out of my love of rugby and agriculture. I hope I can be a contribution to the sector that has given me so much and create opportunities for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

View LinkedIn profile here

Peter Nation, NZ National Fieldays Society

I have been an AgriTechNZ Council member since June 2020. I have been involved directly in the New Zealand Agritech sector for some 18 years and using technology on farm for most of my lifetime. I feel I have a good understanding of the sector, the participants and the opportunities the sector has for future growth.

The industry is being driven to adopt technologies due to efficiencies, cost and supply of labour, while also wanting to meet safety and traceability needs of our global consumers. Supported by AgriTechNZ and its members the opportunities are immense and exciting. I am happy to be re-standing for the Council, to build on the success over the past 2 years.

View LinkedIn profile here

Robert Ford, Fellows Ford Consulting

Kia Ora, my name is Rob Ford and I currently have a consultancy specialising in assisting businesses in the Primary sector more specifically around Agri & Food tech. The last 16 years of my career have been the most rewarding working in the Primary Sector. Firstly, I worked for LIC (Livestock Improvement) holding several General Management positions then moved to Pamu (nee Landcorp) and took up the role of GM Innovation, Environment and Technology.  Post Pamu I headed to a small Software Development company based in Tauranga called Cucumber but after suffering a serious illness was forced to relinquish this role to focus on my health. Thankfully I am fully fit, recovered and now working on my consultancy.

In applying for this role on the Executive Council I believe I would bring a wide range of experiences understanding the development of products and solutions for the sector. I have been involved in initiatives such as Farm Software (MINDA & Farm IQ), to Farm Automation (Protrack & Dairy Automation Ltd), Foodtech (Sheep and Deer Milk). In all cases this has involved product development all the way through to commercialisation. I have also held governance roles for the roll out of the RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative), Farm IQ, Dairy Automation and LIC Farm Automation. I am currently a member of the Directors Institute. I would sincerely appreciate your review and support of my application on the AgriTechNZ Executive Council for the SME/Startup position.

View LinkedIn profile here

Victoria Kennedy, Sprout Agritech

As Sprout Operations and Partnership Manager I develop and execute New Zealand’s specialist AgriFoodTech Accelerator. Sprout’s core reason for existing is to create backable start-ups, by building capabilities and providing entrepreneurs with tools and contacts. My work is creating a strong cohort of start-ups, and building a community of corporate partners, mentors, research institutes and investors, so they can work together to turn their vision into a backable, scalable global technological solution for the food and fibre sector.

Having managed, designed, and executed events across Europe for New Zealand Winegrowers. I understand the strength of an industry collaborating to build a united brand to represent New Zealand. Through my role at Sprout, the team and I are in a unique position where we enable cross-industry collaboration. I believe building a sustainable AgriFoodTech ecosystem through collaboration will enable effective development, growth and success of New Zealand Agritech. I am excited to join the Council, and add value to the AgriTechNZ thriving and fast-growing ecosystem using my capabilities and network.

View LinkedIn profile here

Further information on our Annual Meeting and Executive Council Elections is available here

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Looming global food shortage highlights NZ’s role in climate action

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

As a significant global food supplier, changes in New Zealand food systems may soon have substantial impacts.

New Zealand can feed 40 million people, or five percent of the diet of 800 million people with high quality food, AgriTechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says.

However, the food supply impact from the Ukrainian war shows how production changes in one region or country impacts on others, he says.

Global food prices continue to strengthen as shortages loom for basic foods such as grains. This means there will also be a shortage of carbohydrates to feed livestock, ANZ research says.

“While this won’t directly impact New Zealand food production systems, it will impact our competitors who rely on grain to produce beef and milk,” O’Connell says.

“These impacts show how our global food systems are interconnected. A change in one part of the system will impact others, often with unintended consequences.

“The global food system is made up of makers and takers and changes in how food comes from makers will force takers to source elsewhere, there are always mouths to feed.

“New Zealand production systems need to reduce their emissions and any changes in the food supply capability will need to be backfilled from some other system.

“This could be a worse climate outcome for Aotearoa and the planet. So, if our intent is to positively impact the climate, we have to think at a global scale and consider the net emissions result, not just local optimisation.

“Agritech’s role is to make the improvements and efficiencies necessary to both reduce emissions and continue producing.

“New Zealand needs to have a global impact on this issue because there is no such thing as a local atmospheric greenhouse. That means we need innovations to enable change here in New Zealand and in other markets.

“It is only by addressing that larger problem that we will enable the best technologies, through bigger scale and investment.”

This month, He Waka Eke Noa delivered its recommendations for pricing agricultural emissions. The government is expected to formally adopt these recommendations in December.

Earlier in June, the Emissions Reduction Plan included an announcement to develop a Centre for Climate Action to commercialise critical emissions reduction technologies. The scene is being set for New Zealand’s contribution locally and globally.

For further information contact Brendan O’Connell on 021 369740 or NZTech’s media specialist Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Shared challenges and positive growth

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

AgriTechNZ recently attended dinner in Wellington with the Hon Stuart Nash, Minister for Economic and Regional Development.  It was a special opportunity to highlight the importance of agritech in supporting New Zealand’s economic growth.      

Minister Nash acknowledged the global challenges for the food and fibre sector including meeting new environmental standards and climate extremes.

But we’re seeing that our people are responding with ingenuity.  Our agritech sector is developing innovative solutions for the primary sectors in New Zealand and the world, increasing their productivity and sustainability,” says Minister Nash.

“From pastoral farming and dairy to arable cropping, horticulture and fresh produce, viticulture and aquaculture, and more recently digital technologies, we’ve made a name for ourselves doing just about everything you can imagine.”

The Minister was particularly supportive of the role AgriTechNZ can have in telling these stories both locally and internationally.

“The global opportunities for New Zealand from agritech are enormous, particularly if we focus on international markets and tell our stories well” he says.

Minister Nash also
previewed TIN Agritech Research showing the growth in the agritech sector.  During the past year, the largest 22 agritech companies had a revenue growth of eight percent and export growth of 6.4 percent.  Companies with revenues over $200 million grew at a rate of 7.7 percent, while companies with revenues of up to $50 million grew remarkably at approximately 30 percent. 

AgriTechNZ CEO, Brendan O’Connell, highlighted the shared challenge facing us all and that great things happen when we work together – the collective genius of the agritech community.  He highlighted three key areas of shared focus that can empower agritech to deliver what the world needs from agriculture:
(1) enablement of digital agriculture – through strengthened foundations and supported adoption.
(2) investment and scale to fuel the change
(3) collaboration and impact

Discover Kiwis Going Global

In case you missed our first story, meet Don Sandbrook, Clare Bradley and Aaron Pannell who share their close connection to the land and the challenges of scaling globally. 

Read more

The Future of Farming is HereDiscover the future of farming right here in New Zealand!  Meet Kiwi agritech innovators Darryn Keiller, Jason Wargent and Tijs Robinson. They’re helping change how we feed the world.
Read more

Left to Right – Peter Nation, Graeme Muller, Kylie Horomia, Sophie Rebbeck, Brendan O’Connell, Juliet Ansell, Daniel O’Brien, Hayden Read, Bridgit Hawkins, Maria Jose Alvarez, Kenneth Irons

Would you like to know more? Sign up for our latest news and stories direct to your inbox!

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Powered by Place: The Future of Farming is Here!

Monday, June 6th, 2022

Discover the future of farming right here in New Zealand!  Meet Kiwi agritech innovators Darryn Keiller, Jason Wargent and Tijs Robinson. They’re helping change how we feed the world.  View now.

Rolling pastures, dairy cows contentedly chewing the cud, thousands of sheep on a high country station or juicy stone fruit freshly picked from an orchard.  The new reality for farming is very different as food production transitions to an efficient indoor model using tech, data and innovation.  It’s a business model, combining ground breaking science and innovation technology that is going global.

The perfect storm

The urgency for more sustainable growth of fresh produce is being driven by changing consumer preferences, greater awareness of environmental impacts and carbon footprints.

“The need for the industry to transform is obvious.  We have to move towards a digital and data driven model that is less reliant on knowledge workers and manual labour.  It’s not just about technology, it’s about how we farm and grow our food.  We’ve got to change,” says WayBeyond’s Darry Keiller. 

“We’re trying to solve these really gnarly global problems,” he says when describing the challenge of working with the horticulture industry to sustainably grow food to feed the world.  Read more.

Baked-in benefits 

While WayBeyond is focused on bringing growers into the data age, BioLumic is shining a light on the untapped potential that exists in the crops we grow.  Their world-first tech delivers ultralviolet light to trigger biological mechanisms that increase plant growth, vigour and yields. 

“We can come up with a light recipe to unlock a plant’s potential at different stages, starting with the seed.  We call it a light recipe because it’s essentially like baking a cake.  You need to combine the right ingredients for the magic to happen,” he says, adding that it requires a paradigm shift. 

“We’re building a whole new biological understanding and biology is hard.  But you have to ride the roller coaster if you want to have a real, meaningful impact on the world,” says Jason.  Read more.

Carbon champions

Currently, most greenhouses use natural gas to generate the carbon dioxide (CO2) they need to feed their plants.  But locally and worldwide, there is a push to move away from fossil based fuels to more renewable sources.  Hot Lime Labs has a solution, converting wood waste biomass into clean CO2 for commercial greenhouses.

“We’ve jumped on the wave at the right time.  The world is looking for clean, green solutions; the climate’s not going to become more predictable, land prices aren’t going down and the demand for fresh fruit and vegetables is not going to reduce.  These trends are only going in one direction,” says Hot Lime Lab’s Tijs Robinson.  Read more.

We’d love to hear your stories!

Is connection to the land important to you? What does ‘place’ mean to you and your business? It might be where you grew up, where your business is based, or the unique characteristics of the region you live in. 

We’d love to hear your stories to help inspire other Kiwi agritech entrepreneurs.  Please contact us.

Ngā mihi

Brendan O’Connell

Posted in Horticulture Tech, AgriTechNZ News

Agritech companies helping reduce NZ’s rural emissions

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

New Zealand’s agritech companies are helping meet the country’s climate commitments and their innovations are valued internationally which will drive agritech export growth and create future proof jobs for Kiwis.

Agritech could be destined to save the New Zealand economy, leading New Zealand tech expert Graeme Muller says.

The tremendous worldwide demand for food continues to soar with some estimating the market to be worth $US3 trillion and much of the growth coming from specialty and healthy foods, the NZTech chief executive says,

“Combining two of New Zealand’s leading sectors, agriculture and technology, shows just how we can improve New Zealand farming, food production and health while also growing our exports. We are on the cusp of some massive and exciting tech changes in our lives.”

AgriTechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says agritech has a key role to play in cutting emissions as well as boosting export earnings.

Nearly $340 million of the $2.9 billion in this week’s climate funding announcement will go to setting up a centre for climate action on agricultural emissions. It will focus on enabling the uptake of technology based on research of ways to cut methane on the farm.

O’Connell says the government’s plan to reduce emissions acknowledges the role agritech companies play in getting mitigation research into the hands of producers sooner.

“The new centre for climate action on agricultural emissions will drive tech innovation and uptake on farms. This builds on extensive agricultural greenhouse gas research.

“It takes an entire community of people to enable conditions which sees research make it into the hands of practitioners who are prepared to adapt their practices. This community includes government, researchers across multiple disciplines, industry groups, tech companies and producer groups.

“Strong research collaborations in New Zealand and internationally are creating mitigation tools that include animal diets and selective breeding, soil carbon measures, renewable energy and energy efficiency, input reductions, per animal productivity improvements and scaling of regenerative practices.

“AgriTechNZ, government and industry partners to are working on critical foundations needed to enable understanding and adoption of the technologies.

“This includes improved capabilities for data exchange, an approach to the agriculture emissions pricing rollout that encourages innovation, and a greater understanding of adoption pathways for technology.

“The most promising change technologies are several years away from use on pasture, so the ground needs to be prepared now with suitable farm environmental plans and an ability to use data.

“AgriTechNZ research on technology adoption shows 58 percent of farming businesses have a positive intent for tech use on farms, but many need support to make that intent a reality.

“Tech companies are constantly supporting solutions in the field and it is not just government making investments.”

Private sector investors are getting behind companies such as Pastoral Robotics who can sense and treat nitrous oxide sources whilst also improving pasture quality and another company, Eko360, which is controlling the release of fertiliser nutrients.

Fonterra’s team are developing Kowbucha, which could potentially switch off the bad bugs that create the methane in cows.

New Zealand’s goal is to reduce methane by 10 percent by 2030, and 24 to 47 percent by 2050.

For further information contact Brendan O’Connell on 021 369740 or NZTech’s media specialist, Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

AgriTechNZ Annual Meeting and Executive Council Elections 2022

Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

AgriTech New Zealand (AgriTechNZ) has grown significantly since our launch in May 2018. As a membership-based organisation, AgriTechNZ is run by an elected Executive Council and there are vacancies for three positions in 2022.
AgriTechNZ connects innovators, investors, regulators, researchers and interested public.  AgriTechNZ advances the ecosystem through advocacy, collaboration, innovation, talent and economic growth through international connections and missions.
To continue building on our success, it is critical to have the drive and support of a purposeful Executive Council and we are now seeking nominations. We encourage you to consider who could make an impact as a member of the AgriTechNZ Executive Council ensuring the new Council reflects the diversity of the community we support.

Executive Council Nominations

There is now an opportunity to put yourself forward or nominate someone else for a role on the AgriTechNZ Executive Council.

This year we have vacancies for the following positions:

  • Corporate – Major (1 position)
  • Corporate – Other (1 position)
  • SMEs and Startups (1 position)

The positions are for a 2-year term.

Nominees for the above positions must be:

All nominations must be submitted online here by 5pm, Tuesday 31 May, 2022.

AgriTechNZ Executive Council roles and responsibilities include:

  • Direct and supervise the business and affairs of AgriTechNZ.
  • Attend monthly Executive Council meetings, usually two hours in duration (video conferencing available).
  • Represent AgriTechNZ at industry events and as part of delegations.
  • Assist with managing and securing members of AgriTechNZ.
  • Participate in AgriTechNZ working groups and projects.
  • Where agreed by the Executive Council, act as a spokesperson for AgriTechNZ on particular issues relating to working groups or projects.
  • Be a vocal advocate of AgriTechNZ.

Online Voting

Voting will take place online in advance of the meeting. The results will be announced at the Annual Meeting. Please see the Charter for an outline of Executive Council Membership and election process. Each organisation has one vote allocated to the primary contact of the member organisation.

Annual Meeting Details

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for 3pm on Tuesday 5 July 2022 and is to be held via video conference. Register for the event here.

Notices and Remits

If you wish to propose any notices or motions to be considered at the Annual Meeting, please send them to by 5pm, Tuesday 14 June, 2022.

Key Dates:

  • 11 May: Call for nominations for Executive Council representatives issued to members.
  • 31 May: Deadline for nominations to be received.
  • 7 June: List of nominees to be issued to AgriTechNZ voting members and electronic voting commences.
  • 14 July: Any proposed notices, motions or remits to be advised to AgriTechNZ.
  • 5 July: Results of online voting announced at Annual Meeting.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

AgriTechNZ News: Powerful stories

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

For the first time in a long time agritech businesses are out there strutting the stage globally. Since isolation requirements were lifted, there has been a tentative, but definite return to international travel. It is indicative of both a pent up need to connect with our markets and an acknowledgment of changes in the world. Our stories lay the pathway for deepening relations, so this month we’re focusing on our storytelling and the connections we’re making.

Sharing our inspiring stories
Discover the Kiwis taking on the world in our brand new series. First up, we meet entrepreneurs Don, Clare and Aaron who share their close connection to the land and the challenges of scaling globally.
Read more >

Join the conversation
How is connection to the land important to you? What does ‘place’ mean to you and your business? It might be where you grew up, where your business is based, or the unique characteristics of the region you live in. We’d love to hear your stories to help inspire other Kiwi AgriTech entrepreneurs. Read more >

Navigating Chaos
In March I joined an event hosted by Boma New Zealand, Navigating Chaos as a Ukrainian Entrepreneur, an interview with Michael Utkin, CEO of agritech business FieldBee. The extreme circumstances the FieldBee teams are working under is inspirational, clearly demonstrating how work and the lives we share it with are so interwoven. View now >

Turbocharge global connections
As borders reopen, it’s time to begin reconnecting in person. If you are considering attending Hort Connections or WineTech, this June in Australia, please let us know. Read more >

Leading the way at Dairy-Tech UK
It was great to see AgriTechNZ members, Gallagher, MilkTechNZ, Levno and UBCO leading the way at this northern hemisphere event. In preparation for future opportunities, we are delighted to collaborate with the United Kingdom Department of International Trade (UK DIT) and UK Agritech Centres to connect our ecosystems. Read more >

Take to the stage at evokeAG 2023 in Adelaide
If you have a global agrifood innovation and tech story worth telling, please submit an expression of interest by 31 May. Read more >

Foundations of digital agriculture
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced support for digital farm environment plans (dFEP) from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures). To fast track its delivery, SFF Futures is contributing to the Trust Alliance New Zealand (TANZ) led research project. Read more >

Powering up the waka
Andrew Cooke from Rezare Systems has penned an excellent thought piece on optimising a farm with digital solutions while completing necessary regulatory levy compliance tasks as efficiently as possible. Read more >

Blueprint for an industry
It’s not often you see the birth of an entire new sector, but that’s what Puro New Zealand are taking on through a SFF Futures grant from MPI. The grant will help establish an organic medical cannabis industry by developing a blueprint for other Kiwi companies. Read more >

Acquisition strengthens capability
Recently named supreme winner of the New Zealand International Business Awards, Bluelab has acquired automation company Autogrow as part of a global expansion strategy. Read more >

Keeping an eye on investments
Dunedin based member OmniEye has received $1.6 million seed funding to commercialise their on-farm camera system. Read more >

More agritech recognition
Congratulations also to all the agritech finalists in the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards. Special mention to our members Agrisea, Cropsy, Hectre and SmartMachine. Read more >

Primary Industries Summit and Awards: exclusive ticket giveaway!
We have partnered with Callaghan Innovation to offer five member companies (who have entered the awards) a free two day summit pass, plus complimentary tickets to the Primary Industries Summit Awards on 6 July in Auckland. Contact us >

Discover Israel’s Innovation Experience
Israel 360° offers an online academy followed by a week in Israel, touring businesses, meeting investors and networking. Scholarships are available. Learn more >

Step up and represent your community
We have three Executive Council roles up for election in the next two months. Major Corporate, Other Corporate and SME positions are all due, so now is a good time to sort your membership and play a role in our sector leadership. Contact us >

Ngā mihi,

Chief Executive
AgriTech New Zealand

To receive our full newsletter including additional industry updates and information, subscribe now.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Turbocharge global connections

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

As borders reopen, it’s time to begin reconnecting in person. AgriTechNZ, Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) are eager to help turbocharge global connections, starting with two events in Australia in June.

Hort Connections

Australia & New Zealand’s Premiere Horticulture Conference & Trade Show
6 – 8 June, 2022.
Brisbane Convention Centre
View agenda


Australia’s Wine Industry Exhibition & Conference
27 – 29 June, 2022
Adelaide Convention Centre
View agenda 

If there is enough interest in either of these events, Callaghan will support Kiwi companies with either a NZ Let’s Connect event prior to the conference or an in-market Mini Mission immediately after.

What is NZ Let’s Connect?

These events are meetups for New Zealand companies attending conferences. It provides an opportunity to network prior to a conference and meet with relevant sector experts from the host city.

What is a Mini Mission?

These are customised for each event and include a one day deep dives to better understand the market. Mini Missions may include a farm or research institute visit, or in-market exploration with agencies from the host city.

If you have registered or are considering attending Hort Connections or WineTech, please let us know here!

Please respond by Friday 22 April 2022.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Powered by Place: sharing our stories

Monday, April 4th, 2022

How does our connection to the land inspire our thinking?

Discover the Kiwis taking on the world in the first of our brand new Powered by Place story series.  Meet Greentech Robotics’ Don Sandbrook, AgriSea’s Clare Bradley and FlipFarm’s Aaron Pannell who share their close connection to the land and the challenges of scaling globally.

Can you take on the world from your own backyard?

The sheer bloody minded persistence that paved Don Sandbrook’s big break is still the key to building a global business. Greentech Robotics is on a bold mission – to future proof farming by developing cutting edge robotic capability.  Today, almost all their customers are offshore, but Greentech Robotics is still based in Palmerston North.  We asked Greentech Robotics’ Don Sandbrook how he made it work. Read more.

Shifting mindsets with the power of local knowledge.

It started as a dream, but this award winning Paeroa based family business is creating global impact.  Their tech is unique and uses brown kelp native to New Zealand.

“As a Māori-owned, intergenerational business, we have a different lens on the business than a large corporate might have. That influences our long-term vision. Māori values like kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are part of our DNA,” says AgriSea’s Clare Bradley.

“Our values are not a PR exercise for us, they’re part of who we are. We feel it is our responsibility to look after our natural resources for future generations,” she says. Read more.

Necessity is the mother of invention!

We’re renowned for our ‘number eight wire’ mentality to problem solving.  But when FlipFarm had to think creatively to stop losing their gear and oysters they also created a system to help farmers around the world.

“We built the system for us but once we saw that it worked we knew it was going to solve a big problem for farmers around the world,” says FlipFarm’s Aaron Pannell. Read more.

We’d love to hear your stories!

Is connection to the land important to you? What does ‘place’ mean to you and your business? It might be where you grew up, where your business is based, or the unique characteristics of the region you live in.

We’d love to hear your stories to help inspire other Kiwi agritech entrepreneurs. Please contact us.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Foundations of digital agriculture

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

Today, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced support for digital farm environment plans (dFEP) from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures). SFF Futures is contributing $493,500 to the $823,500 research project, led by Trust Alliance New Zealand (TANZ).  

Farm Environment Plans are a pivotal tool to identify and take action on environmental risks on-farm, demonstrate progress on environmental objectives and build export value through satisfying global consumer expectations.

The research aims to fast track the delivery of a digital solution for farm environment plans. As a result, farmers and growers will be able to share environmental compliance data through the same toolsets that are used for regular farm management tasks.

As an industry supporter, AgriTechNZ celebrates the work of TANZ and the AgriTechNZ members and their partners helping drive this work: Agrigate, ANZ, Auckland Council, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Eagle Technology, FarmIQ, Federated Farmers, GS1, MyEnviro and Potatoes NZ.

We welcome this significant step towards a digital future for agriculture in New Zealand.   

“Our food and farming systems are faced with both challenges and opportunities in food security, climate and environmental impact. Digital agriculture or ‘smart farming’ represents a set of tools to enhance practices for the benefit of farmers and consumers. Smart farming can help provide foundations to build responsible production and consumer systems across the primary industries,  says Brendan O’Connell, CEO, AgriTechNZ. 

“ Creating a digital option for FEPs means managing farming decisions and regulatory requirements will be far more efficient. For example, in the same way that farm accounts and tax returns are also streamlined with digital tools, FEPs will benefit from a simplified process.” 

“This transition is more than just a technology development, it extends to organisational and management practices. Our sector includes practitioners, innovators and enablers who mobilise new capabilities in data, automation, connectivity and virtual exchange to contribute to smart farming practices. We consider smart farming a strong lever in strengthening sustainable forms of farming and food systems.” 

“AgriTechNZ looks forward to working with TANZ and MPI in developing a dFEP proof of concept to integrate data exchange, practice requirements and regulatory commitments with regular farm operations.” 

View the Hon Damien O’Connor’s media statement here.  

Subscribe to receive regular news and events updates from AgriTechNZ. 

Posted in AgriTechNZ News