Australia’s long and distinguished history in agricultural research is cementing its position as a global hub for agriculture and food technology.
Driven by a variety of climates and ecosystems, a stable and favourable business environment, and connectivity with the rapidly growing markets of Asia, Australia is capitalizing on these advantages to become a centre for agtech and foodtech innovation.
Australia for Agriculture 4.0, a new initiative by Austrade, the nation’s trade and investment promotion agency, will build on the country’s impressive record in agricultural innovation to facilitate foreign investment, exports and collaboration in both agtech and foodtech.
The initiative aims to establish Australia as a global hub for agricultural and food innovation. It will showcase Australia’s agtech and foodtech capability, and highlight its unique technological advances, research excellence, strong record of innovation expertise, as well as the nation’s strong government support and established export channels.
Austrade has developed a new digital platform, launching today at evokeAG. This will showcase capabilities and insights from the Australian agtech and foodtech sector, and connect investors, exporters and research partners to Australia’s government, private sector and academic leaders and stakeholders in the field.
evokeAG is a new agrifood technology event for the food and farming community. Held in Melbourne, Australia, the event brings together farmers, innovators and investors from Australia and overseas to share and explore new directions for the next generation of food and farming.
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Austrade is hosting more than 70 international delegates on a week-long national mission as part of evokeAG. The mission will travel to sites in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria, where delegates will have the opportunity to meet with Australia’s leading agtech and foodtech startups, successful entrepreneurs, research bodies and government agencies.
“Australia has the potential to be a powerhouse in agrifood tech and we want to help the sector reach its full potential,” said Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham.
“Our farmers are some of the most innovative in the world but we’re behind the pack when it comes to commercialising our food and farming technologies. This initiative is about connecting investors with Australian farmers and agtech start-ups as well as creating more collaborative research and development opportunities.”
Australia’s government invests more than A$600 million a year in agricultural research and development, and supports a National Farmers’ Federation initiative to grow Australian agriculture to a A$100 billion industry by 2030.
A global leader in innovation
“Australian farmers and food producers are recognized globally for their innovation, using technology to drive consistent productivity growth, develop better quality products and build globally competitive businesses. Despite facing some of the harshest environmental and climate conditions on the planet, they have made the country a top five producer of barley, oats, chickpeas, almonds, beef, sheep and wool,” said Karen Caston, Senior Investment Specialist, Agribusiness and Food, at Austrade.
“Australian agricultural and food producers are also quick to harness cutting-edge technologies to deliver high-quality, traceable raw materials and products to export markets. Our agtech and foodtech solutions are turning heads around the world, and we are seeing increasing interest from foreign investors and research partners who see Australia as a testing ground or regional base for further development,” Ms. Caston also said.
Global leaders in agtech and foodtech, such as Cisco and Bosch, are choosing Australia as a base to expand their innovation work.
Cisco has invested in Australian agtech by establishing innovation centers in Perth and Sydney, two of only ten centers of innovation in Cisco’s global network. Leveraging the country’s strong agriculture industry, Cisco Australia is currently trialing a new innovation in agtech.
The Farm Decision Platform is being trialed in New South Wales to provide farmers with real-time data across their network. Industry partners can host their applications on the platform. Cisco’s aim is to take this solution globally together with its agtech partners.
Kevin Bloch, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Australia, said Cisco’s decision to invest in Australia for agricultural innovation is boosted by a collaborative agtech community and Australian farmers’ can-do attitude and problem-solving approach.
“Agriculture is an important sector here, and Cisco saw the opportunity to collaborate with technically savvy culture and community. Australia is an environment that is primed and ready for the next phase of agriculture, which is agtech,” said Mr. Bloch.
“Bosch is investing in Australia as an Agriculture 4.0 development hub for three major reasons: its rich history as a world-leading producer of agricultural commodities; the strength of its agricultural research and scientific capabilities; and the food and agriculture industry’s willingness to trial and adopt new solutions,” said Gavin Smith, President, Bosch Australia.
“Our investments in and partnerships with Australian institutions is testament to Australia’s strengths in technologies that will lead the next revolution in agriculture,” Mr. Smith added.