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Agritech kicks off Govt's innovation plan

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 02 July 2019, 7:52 pm

The Government has today launched a new approach to encouraging innovation in key sectors of the economy. It involves the creation of Industry Transformation Plans, with agritech among the first industries out of the blocks.

"Agritech exports are estimated at around NZ$1.5 billion annually. However, exports have been flat for a decade and the uptake of this technology across the primary sector and related manufacturing sectors has been low," notes a report on Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

"The sector lacks a coordinated supporting ecosystem and has weak international linkages. This is inhibiting New Zealand's ability to maximise significant export opportunities."

"The government is working with industry body Agritech New Zealand and other industry parties to develop a draft agritech strategy and action plan. This strategy will provide the foundation for a future agritech Industry Transformation Plan.

Quick as a wink, the agritech strategy has also been posted the MBIE website, albeit as a consultation document. Despite its rich history, according to this report, there is plenty of room for improvement in the agritech sector.

"So while Agritech has enabled improved productivity, quality and yield, it has yet to provide a breakthrough to the levels of sustained growth and value creation the sector would like to see. Nor has it adequately addressed a number of sustainability and environmental issues such as those around water quality, climate change and the provision of secure, high value jobs," the report notes.

The three major benefits to New Zealand in focussing on Agritech are: improving sustainability and productivity, growing high-value exports, and contributing to global challenges such as feeding a growing global population while at the same time mitigating climate change impacts.

The 'megatrends' affecting agritech are: changing consumer demands, increased market risk, demographic changes, labour supply shortages, the changing environment, and technology and business model innovations.

The outcomes the sector needs to strive for include a measurable growth in export revenue for companies in the sector, a measurable increase in jobs and in particular high-value jobs coupled with increased skill levels; and a measurable growth in productivity of companies utilising Agritech, both in New Zealand and globally.

You can read more here.


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