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I hope this newsletter finds you safe and well. Last month, we held our annual meeting and I would like to congratulate the newly elected members of our Executive Council. The platform that has been developed over the past two years provides a very significant opportunity for our members going forward.

In particular, I would like to thank the departing members of our Establishment Council for their immense contribution. They have provided me with invaluable support and advice during the past two years as we have grown into a significant industry sector organisation. Their contribution has been immense and the platform that has been established provides a very significant opportunity going forward.

My immediate focus is on the plans for the delivery and implementation of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). To further emphasise the Agritech ITP’s importance, Agritech New Zealand is publishing Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed. This research report provides a detailed analysis of agritech on New Zealand’s economy and the opportunity for increased productivity and export growth.

One key element of the Agritech ITP is the ongoing development of the New Zealand Agritech Story. Closed borders now present a particular challenge when addressing offshore opportunities.

To help gain a better understanding of how the sector will manage in the current environment, we are hosting New Zealand Agritech Story workshops next month. The workshops will be held on 15 July in Auckland16 July in Hamilton and 21 July in Lincoln. It’s critical that the sector is provided with the collateral and assets it needs to be able to navigate the emerging ‘new normal’. Please reserve your free seat at these workshops because your input is highly valued. 

In 2019, Agritech New Zealand hosted a major one day conference at National Fieldays called Agritech Unleashed. I’m delighted to announce that Agritech New Zealand and National Fieldays are once again partnering to provide exciting online content for Fieldays Online between 13-26 July. Agritech Unleashed 2020 will include five daily sessions on Fieldays TV, focusing on key themes including; building New Zealand agritech sector’s global footprint, attracting skills and talent, the rise of robotics and automation, creating new ag data standards and regulation, and how New Zealand researchers and startups can engage with the trans-Tasman Water Challenge.

Later next month, during Techweek 2020, we are hosting Elizabeth Fastiggi, global head of agritech at Amazon Web Services. We are also hosting a major New Zealand – Singapore online food safety workshop; a key element of the Enhanced Partnership agreement signed by both Governments in 2019. If you are involved in any aspect of food safety, research or commercialisation, this is one event you will not want to miss. More details coming soon.

Whilst some sectors of our economy face significant pressures, I believe that the future of agritech in New Zealand is bright. We have developed a focused strategy to improve productivity and grow long term exports by bringing together our major stakeholder groups; industry, research and Government. 

Last month’s Budget announcement of $11.4m funding to support the delivery of the Agritech ITP was a massive vote of confidence in the sector. Next month’s New Zealand Agritech Story workshops are the key first milestone in its implementation.

I hope to see as many of you as possible in Auckland, Hamilton & Lincoln.

Until then.

Ngā mihi

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
AgriTech New Zealand

PS: Have your say on drone adoption within New Zealand agriculture. Please complete our member Aeronavics’ quick survey to help formulate the best strategy for drone use on farms. There is also an opportunity to be considered for a trial site installation.

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