Both Australia and New Zealand have the right ingredients to play on the world stage in food and farm for the future. When I look at agrifood tech in Australia I see so much hard work, energy, enthusiasm and activity. There are incubators, accelerators, hackathons, pitch fests and more that are doing a fantastic job of looking at old problems in new ways. There are people bringing technological expertise to agriculture to provide solutions and systems that will boost productivity and profits.
From working closely with the Australian agriculture sector’s emerging leaders, I also see a real enthusiasm for technology’s potential to transform the way the industry works and break down barriers. It’s not just the consumer opportunities that are exciting these emerging leaders either, they’re also keen to be involved in their own agrifood tech innovations and investments. They want to use their unique skills and experiences to generate ideas and solutions that could lead to both commercial success and boost farm productivity.
From attending agricultural and food technology events around the world it’s also become clear that there’s genuine international interest in what’s happening here in Australia. While our innovation ecosystem is immature compared to those in the UK, the US and Israel where the deal flows have been big, we are nonetheless making a name for ourselves. The practicalities however for investors from overseas who want to interact with Australian agrifood tech are tricky. Our distance from Europe and the US and the geographic distribution across states and cities of the various centres of innovation are a challenge.
These factors in combination; a burgeoning of Australian agrifood tech ideas and innovation, enthusiasm from emerging leaders, and the need for investors to have a single place to see the best of what we have to offer, led AgriFutures Australia to the idea that became evokeAG.