Partnering to transform our agritech industry

An industry plan to transform and grow New Zealand’s agritech sector was today 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,
  • 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,
  • 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,” Phil Twyford said.

“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 (ITP) 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.

Phil Twyford said 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 today launched 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,” Damien O’Connor said.

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,” Damien O’Connor said.

“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.”

Phil Twyford said 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,” Phil Twyford said.

  • The Government agritech Taskforce that developed the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan with industry includes representatives from: the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; New Zealand Trade and Enterprise; Callaghan Innovation; the Ministry for Primary Industries; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. MBIE is the overall lead agency responsible for the development and execution of this ITP.
  • The Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed report was published by Agritech NZ with the support of its members and MBIE. The research partners were IDC, Sapere Research Group and NZ Tech.
  • Two other industry transformation plans for food and fibre sectors are in development:
  • Te Uru Rākau is leading the development of the Forestry and Wood Processing ITP as part of the food and fibre priority area and MPI is leading the development of a food and beverage ITP.
  • MBIE is leading the development of an Industry Transformation Plan for the digital sector and will soon embark on an ITP for advanced manufacturing. These plans are in addition to the Industry Transformation Plan for the agritech sector.

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