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On 30 November we hosted an online update for the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). It was a packed session with plenty of content focussed on actual progress rather than ‘plans for transformation’. 

The language of ITPs was inherited from similar economic development approaches in the United Kingdom and Singapore. The specific principles of this approach include taking a sector specific focus and working with both industry and ‘all of government’ to coordinate a series of actions in the short – medium term that are intended to have a long-term impact or transformation.

‘All of Government’ is a term that often gets used and yet for those that work in or with government it is a term of intent rather than a reflection on standard practice.  So, it’s significant that the intent of an all of government approach finds meaning in the execution of a shared plan.  In my role during the last year, I’ve spent a reasonable portion of each week working with agency teams either individually, or in collaborative sessions. It has been a privilege to see the skills and talents of different groups coming together to focus on our sector.  In particular it has been exciting to see the in-market capability of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) matched with the sector affinity of Callaghan Innovation.

It is highly significant that Ministerial ownership for the Agritech ITP is now shared between Minister O’Connor and Minister Nash.  Their portfolios cover agriculture, trade and SMEs – a landscape capturing the varied interests of agritech very well. As a sector we are the enabler for sustainable agriculture,  a promise for growing international trade and an assembly of innovators building individual businesses.

This year, despite the restrictions, we need to recognise the progress and beginnings of transformation. We also need to continue challenging what will make the aspirations of our agritech sector come to life in the next five years. We look forward to continuing the conversation in 2022.