Engaging an agritech community innovation

New Zealand has, over the last couple of years, become a hotbed of activity for both local and international agritech companies and start-ups. The growth in digital technologies and connectivity within the primary sector has enabled grassroots innovators develop revolutionary ideas for the local industry. If we looked at farming alone, 415 apps, software and smart tools are currently listed on Agri One’s national database, which tracks tools designed to help farmers manage rural businesses.

As competition ramps up within the sector, large agritech communities have developed around our traditional centres of Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland. But the focus is not just on the New Zealand market. Local, national and international events continue to showcase the opportunities available to agritech companies throughout the globe.

MobileTECH has been a key international agritech event held in New Zealand every year since 2013. Last year, over 300 technology leaders, developers and early adopters from throughout the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors gathered to exchange ideas and discuss new technologies.
For the 2018 event, a large section of the programme is dedicated to improving New Zealand’s agritech ecosystem and designed to encourage industry collaboration. Callaghan Innovation, Sprout (New Zealand) and WNT Ventures are on-hand to highlight how companies and entrepreneurs are developing their products and what support structures are available.
“The critical debate though, will be how the sector can continue to grow through better collaboration. Researchers, developers, innovators, investors and industry operators can all benefit from meeting under the one roof,” said MobileTECH programme manager, Ken Wilson.
“The primary sector has always been the backbone to New Zealand’s thriving economy, so it is not surprising to see the opportunities available to our agritech community”.

In addition to the NZ focus, MobileTECH 2018 delegates will also hear from Sam Trethewey, Director of the Australian agritech accelerator, SproutX. Mr Trethewey offers fresh thinking and is a passionate leader for the integration of technology within the sector.

Agriculture is the fastest growing pillar of the Australian economy. Agtech continues to play an increasingly larger role in driving its growth, from inside the farm gate, through the supply chain and into consumer markets. SproutX is leading agtech development in Australia with a large national footprint that covers communities from Perth to Hobart and up to Cairns. SproutX also runs the only early stage agtech venture capital fund in the Asia Pacific and works alongside industry bodies, farmers, government, corporates and entrepreneurs.

Mr Trethewey is excited to be addressing MobileTECH 2018. “New Zealand agriculture leads the world and it’s through events like this that we get to understand who, why and how,” he said.

MobileTECH 2018 will be running on 27-28 March 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletech.events.