Wednesday October 4 – The technology developed and commercialised by the Australian agritech sector will be critical in Australia reaching its productivity ambitions, writes Andrew Coppin
Technology has been revolutionising the way Australians farm for generations. From on-farm machinery to two-way radios and eventually the use of mobile apps, it’s hard to envision a time when technology didn’t aid the agriculture industry. Over several decades agritech (technology used in agri- culture) has grown to support farmers to overcome operational, financial, and supply chain efficiency challenges. Applying technology to everyday operations allows farmers the opportunity to increase overall management, limit impact on natural re- sources, and guarantee after-growing conditions.
Australia’s world-leading agritech sector – including farmers, start-ups, scale-ups and enterprises, accelerator and incubator programs, industry groups, and universities and research institutions – is on the frontline enabling on-farm and supply chain adoption of technology. It is the cornerstone for transforming the way Australians farm, driving our world leading export reputation, and how the supply chain operates. It is a key en-
abler of sustainable practices and climate impacts through the development of commercial and scaled applied technology solutions.
As the Australian agriculture industry currently has a farm gate output of approximately $72 billion and aims to reach $100 billion by 2030, the relationships that foster the sector are becoming increasingly valuable. Researchers, technological developers, farmers, and the agritech ecosystem must work together with varying other stakeholders to ensure the sector continues in a sustainable, high-yielding, and adaptive way.
One of the largest agritech sub-sectors is water management. The global desire to increase water management has sparked the revolution of many agritech companies, providing close to real-time visuals and alerts, enabling farm managers to view various water supplies across their farm and ana- lyse the best operations for its use. Agritech offers farmers sophisticated systems that supply weather forecasting and pump management, and allows growers and producers a better way of anticipating how to deal with the inevitable altering climate while gaining the highest yield from their crops. Companies working within on-farm monitoring, such as water and weather, inevitably aid in creating a positive environmental impact and building a clean, green, and sustainable future for the agriculture industry.
The Australian Agritech Association (Aus- Agritech) is the peak national body for the sector, and was established to connect, promote, and advance the nation’s agritech ecosystem. As a member-led organisation, the association exists to benefit all members, including students, agritech start-ups and scale-ups, government organisations, and corporate partners. This network of like- minded individuals and companies provides opportunities to collaborate with farmers; connect with investors, research centres and experts; and promotes accelerator and incubator programs, showcases, and publicity events.
The 2023 Australian Agritech Sector Re- port prepared by AusAgritech, along with report partners AusTrade, FINDEX Australia, and AgVic, highlights the sector strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and priorities. The report emphasises the need for industry and ecosystem collaboration; a desire for scalable and growth-focused investment from both private and public sources; and a need for ongoing ecosystem support and advocacy. The report is based on an eco- system survey from early 2023 and looks at the agritech sector nationally along with an outline of the major supporters throughout the ecosystem.
The assessment of the agritech ecosystem and the biggest roadblocks – including a lack of skilled workforce – is a starting point for a more efficient and productive sector. The report offers a direction for ongoing growth and stands as a resource for all players in the ecosystem – be it from the aspect of a start-up realising their issues are shared, a new angle for investors and the way they ap- proach investing in agritech, or a nudge to government and policy makers around how important agritech is for the growth of the agriculture industry.
The report and its ongoing updates are important to defining the landscape of the Australian agritech industry and the substantial impacts agritech has and will continue to have on agriculture. The Australian agriculture industry will not be able to meet its productivity ambitions without the adoption of innovative agritech.
Read the full journal here.