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The Australia New Zealand agritech ecosystem build post-evokeAG 2020

The key theme at this year’s evokeAG conference in Melbourne was the power of collaboration. In New Zealand, this has been a key driver for the past two years.

Agritech New Zealand has succeeded in bringing together different key stakeholders from across the agritech ecosystem to create a sector-wide community; a community made up of industry, research, investment and government partners. Over the past 12 months, the organisation has worked with a New Zealand government agritech taskforce to develop a long-term Agritech Industry Transformation Plan. You can view and download the final draft of this work from the MBIE website here. This power of sector collaboration is now well understood in Australia and it was great to see the formal launch of the Australian Agritech Association (AAA) in February. Its co-founders are Andrew Coppin, Sarah Nolet, Craig Shapiro, Matthew Pryor and Mike Briers. I’ve worked closely with these folk for a long time and it’s a hugely positive step for New Zealand’s own agritech sector, that the AAA has been established. A strong Aussie agritech sector is helping generate a viable and powerful regional ecosystem. To create global impact, that’s absolutely critical for New Zealand.

For the past nine months, I have been working with the same awesome Aussies to develop a dynamic framework for sector collaboration between Australia and New Zealand. The formal establishment of the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council last September was an important step in this journey. It brought together key ecosystem builders on both sides of the ditch.

This collaborative framework was formally recognised at a meeting organised by the Council on immediately following the evokeAG conference.

It provided a significant long-term boost to the Council’s vision for the region’s agritech ecosystem.

On the New Zealand side, we were joined by Dame Annette King, the NZ High Commissioner to Australia; Vanessa O’Neill, the NZ Consul General & Trade Commissioner to Victoria; David Downs, the NZ Government agritech taskforce lead; Grant Bryden, Director for Primary Sector Futures at MPI, together with Angela Traill & Mitali Purohit, key representatives from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and Callaghan Innovation. Dame Annette made it clear that she and the NZ Inc. team based in Australia would provide valuable ongoing support for the vision.

On the Australian side, we were joined by Chantal Jackson, Director, Agricultural Innovation and Productivity, Ministry of Agriculture; Tim Lester, Executive Officer of the Council of Rural R&D Corps; Michiel Van Lookeren Campagne, Director of Agriculture and Food at CSIRO; Charlie Thomas, General Manager, Digital & Industry Partnerships, National Farmer’s Federation; John Harvey, Managing Director of AgriFutures Australia, together with leading representatives from a number of Australian states.

The meeting discussed the Council’s vision for identifying opportunities for trans-Tasman collaboration. Both the New Zealand and the Australian government representatives recognised the value of this collaborative approach.

It’s a commitment that everyone attending the meeting supported.

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