This article was published on 27 August 2018
Over thirty kiwi agriculture innovators have touched down in Silicon Valley ready to test their solutions among some of the most competitive global growers and farming leaders. Their powerful weapon: New Zealand’s unique recipe to feed the planet sustainably.
The delegation will join an internationally subscribed agritech immersion programme and visit large US growers and producers, connect with local trends, while scoping investment and export opportunities. Led by Callaghan Innovation and Agritech New Zealand, the group includes a diverse talent pool of early and late stage agritech businesses as well as researchers and innovation leaders.
The global agriculture industry has been slow in its uptake of technology, but this is changing as it looks to innovate and solve significant problems. These include rising labour shortages, environmental pressures, more adverse weather events, and feeding a global 10 billion population by 2050.
Callaghan Innovation’s Nicky Molloy says New Zealand has an incredible recipe to help solve these problems. “Our genuine relationships with farmers and growers, our kaitiakitanga (care for the environment), our natural innovation flair, and our strong national integrity measures are a unique value proposition,” says Nicky, an agritech innovation expert.
“Feedback from Silicon Valley tells us our agritech is world class, we are generally a step ahead. But we struggle with thinking globally and adapting to different markets soon enough. Programmes like this make a huge difference where innovators experience the very real and different conditions here out in the field, while connecting them with partnership and investment opportunities.”
The conference will feature a panel session about New Zealand’s unique ability to help feed the world, run by both Nicky and Agritech New Zealand’s CEO, Peter Wren-Hilton. Peter says the trip is expected to produce some significant international deals that will improve kiwi access to the US agritech ecosystem.
“This team is part of a growing body of global experts who are passionate about connecting, mentoring, and investing in agritech firms,” says Peter.
“When we first embarked on developing the program back in 2015, we could not have envisaged just how significant the long-term impact would be on our emerging agritech sector. These are exciting times for New Zealand. What happens over the next few months could well determine just where we sit in this global industry in the years ahead.”
Peter says the economic return of last year’s mission through increased cross-border trade is now being measured in the $US multi-millions. Alumni of the programme include kiwi firms like Robotics Plus and Autogrow who now have bases in Silicon Valley with significant international customers.
A list of the delegates, key mission info, updates and resources are available on our Silicon Valley Agritech page.
Follow the delegation on Twitter @callaghannz #SVFAgTech18 #nzagritech