Agritech Logo

Last week, I attended the Mixing Bowl IT Food conference and the Forbes AgTech Summit in the San Francisco Bay area.  These annual events showcase some of the best startup and early stage agritech companies emerging from the USA.  They also provide a platform to benchmark the performance of New Zealand’s agritech sector against our most competitive global peers.  Having viewed pitches at both events, my assessment is that New Zealand stacks right up there with the best, even if some might regard my view as biased!  So, this month, I’m sharing insights from three influential global thought leaders on the state of New Zealand agritech;  Adrian Percy, the global head of research and development at Bayer CropSciences, Microsoft’s worldwide director of life sciences and agriculture, Claudia Rossler and Arama Kukutai, the co-founder of San Diego based agri-focused investor, Finistere Ventures. You can view their thoughts in the news section below.

Later this week, I am working with Callaghan Innovation to identify some early stage companies who will join the New Zealand delegation attending the 2018 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program & Conference.  Last week highlighted that while our innovation matches the best, our small capital market makes it challenging to scale at an international level.  Next month’s conference has been designed to enable businesses to engage with leading players in Silicon Valley’s agritech ecosystem. They will follow in the footsteps of other early stage New Zealand companies such as Autogrow, Biolumic, TracMap, Robotics Plus and GPS-it who have all successfully established a presence in the North American market.

Later this month, I am meeting various agencies in Wellington to identify how Government can help leverage some of the emerging opportunities identified for our sector. This requires proactive leadership to support bold initiatives, both at home and offshore.  I will report back on the outcome of these meetings next month.

I am also in the process of setting up a series of nationwide workshops with our partners in the New Zealand Tech Alliance.  Together, we will explore how emerging technologies such as IoT, AI and Blockchain will impact on future farming.  What we do know for sure is that these technologies combined with powerful data based platforms are helping drive the agritech agenda.  Details of these workshops will be shared online soon.

Ngā mihi

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director


View Adrian Percy’s insightful comments on the opportunity for New Zealand’s agritech sector.  Discover Claudia Rossler’s perceptions of our agritech sector and its role in helping feed the world.  Read Arama Kukutai’s honest assessment of the local sector and our need to access to global capital to scale offshore.

Callaghan Innovation in collaboration with Agritech New Zealand and the Silicon Valley Forum is leading a business delegation to the Agritech Immersion Programme and Conference, 27- 31 August 2018.  Register now to create connections and discover the Silicon Valley agritech ecosystem.

In other news, AI is being used in China to help ensure pigs are active, produce lean bacon, and deliver more offspring.  Meanwhile, AI is set to disrupt the pesticides industry with autonomous weeding robots.

What does alternative protein mean for the primary sector?  Attend the ProteinTECH conference on 24 July in Auckland to learn more about disruptive innovations and emerging food technologies.

Attend NZTE’s Export Essentials Workshops, held throughout New Zealand from July to November.  Learn how to select a market, find channel partners, create a unique value proposition and plan successful market entry.

The Digital Skills Forum wants to know how you work with digital tech interns. Please complete this quick survey to help the Forum determine how to better connect studying and work through internships.

Launching this month, 100TechWomen featuring a collection of inspiring stories from New Zealand’s brightest tech talent.

Have you been forwarded this newsletter?  Subscribe here to receive you own copy.  Learn more about joining Agritech New Zealand here.

Read how AI and IoT are changing the face of local dairy farming.

Want to know more?  Sign up for the AgriTech newsletter, it’s free and will take less than a minute!