Partnering to transform NZ‘s agritech industry

The minister were in the Bay of Plenty on Tuesday as they made the announcement. Photos: Merle Cave/SunLive.

An industry plan to transform and grow New Zealand’s agritech sector has been launched by Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

The agritech sector is set to benefit from Government investment including: $11.4 million direct investment in implementing the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan, announced in Budget 2020.

There will also be a share of $84 million of Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures funding brought forward to boost innovation to support the Fit for a Better World roadmap, as well as ongoing support from the Government’s agritech Taskforce and existing government programmes.

“We want to grow a cluster of large agritech firms that can take on the world, and build on New Zealand’s agricultural strength,” says Phil Twyford, who was in the Bay of Plenty on Tuesday.

“Our Government believes we can grow the agritech sector into a stronger economic contributor, increase agritech exports, and advance sustainable primary production in New Zealand.”

The Agritech Industry Transformation Plan sets out key actions to lift the productivity of the sector. It was co-developed with industry by a multi-agency agritech taskforce led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Twyford says key actions the Government is supporting include commercialising new products, and establishing a horticultural robotics academy.

"This is truly transformational work.”

Damien O’Connor also was also in the BOP on Tuesday for to launch an industry-led report from industry association Agritech NZ, called Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed.

“Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed is a timely analysis of the agritech landscape in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 economy, and the opportunities to ensure the success of the Agritech ITP,” says O’Connor.

Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed recommends strategic opportunities for the sector to pursue:

  •   •  A strengthened commitment from the sector to the ITP as a joint government and industry strategic approach,

  •   •  Developing a Trans-Tasman agritech strategy,

  •   •  Maximising local adoption of New Zealand agritech.

“New Zealand agritech companies are creating innovative technologies and solutions that support our farmers, growers, beekeepers and fishers to create more value, and achieve greater sustainability.

“Innovation and investment in agritech will play an important part in delivering the Government’s COVID-19 primary sector recovery roadmap Fit for a Better World.

Twyford says both the ITP and Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed provide practical steps towards the vision for the sector, and highlight the opportunities for New Zealand agritech to solve challenges affecting the primary sector globally.

“I am also launching a refreshed Industry Strategy that takes account of the response to COVID-19. The development of Industry Transformation Plans remains critical to scaling up highly productive and internationally competitive firms,” says Twyford.


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