Accelerating the growth of our agritech sector plays a key role in achieving Government’s economic strategy to move New Zealand to a high-wage, low-emissions, and resilient economy. The Industry Transformation Plans are recognised as an important aspect of this strategy to unleash the potential of New Zealand businesses. In particular, the agritech industry’s growth is expected to lead to increased agritech exports, combined with higher productivity and reduced emissions in our food and fibre sectors.
Agritech has the unique opportunity of providing solutions that concurrently improve productivity and sustainability. It can provide the ability to produce more food and fibre products and lower environmental inputs. This value proposition places the agritech sector at the heart of how we can think about the relationship between productivity and sustainability, particularly how productivity can be more holistic and consider benefits and costs beyond those that are monetary.
A thriving agritech sector will see high-wages, more jobs, lower-emissions, and have spillover benefits to other key sectors. For example, the 2022 Agritech Insights Report published an average wage in the sector of around $94,000, which is significantly higher than New Zealand’s average wage. These high-wage, knowledge-intensive jobs found in the agritech sector are key to New Zealand’s future.
On the whole, the agritech sector is poised for growth. This will be seen in the sector growing in its own right, but also in its increased and critical contribution to the food and fibre industries of New Zealand. This latter role will be particularly important in solving global challenges such as labour shortages, food security, emissions reduction, and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Agritech serves as a key driver for shifting New Zealand’s food and fibre industries to a more productive future, and is also central to driving better environmental outcomes (including emissions reduction) both domestically and across export markets.
To support Government’s role in implementing the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan, we have committed a total of $16.4 million. We have already seen over 2 years of collaborative action across industry and Government in delivering this work. We look forward to continuing to build this partnership in order to grow New Zealand’s agritech sector to a globally recognised agritech sector that creates solutions for a better world.
The last 2 years delivered some hard-won growth in the agritech industry in and from New Zealand. Despite difficult trade conditions, we witnessed organic growth and acquisitions by our mature businesses and the emergence of many more start-up businesses. Globally, agritech remains the sought for answer to many of the world’s food and climate challenges. The conditions are primed for further progress by the sector in response and contribution to these challenges.
Whilst the private sector will be the proof point of that progress, it is the partnership with Government that enables a shared examination of our national comparative advantages and challenges, co-design a development strategy, and collaborate to further improve conditions for growth and well-being. This refreshed Agritech Industry Transformation Plan is the next step in that process.
AgriTechNZ is pleased to have partnered with the Government’s multi-agency, joined-up industry strategy, the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (AITP). We have worked hard to engage and represent the many voices across our industry and will continue to do so.
In the industry, there is a growing sense of shared identity and connected prospects. We are a small and isolated market that can only thrive by embracing what it might mean to be a smart ecosystem. At AgriTechNZ we champion strengthening ecosystem citizenship behaviours which encourage and leverage collaborative approaches, collective action and indirect social exchanges (such as the behaviour of paying it forward and supporting the development of others in the industry). Across our Executive Council, Industry Reference Groups and AITP Industry Steering Group we witness individuals and their organisations leaning into the work that will benefit all.
We are confident in the aspiration to grow the contribution to New Zealand’s economy to $8 billion by 2030. Perhaps more importantly, we are committed to the impact our agritech businesses can make globally and domestically to sustainable food production and environmental services. This isn’t just an opportunity; it is a responsibility.
We are pleased with the start made in the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan to date, glad that the momentum will continue to build, and committed to the shared work that will be required to seed even greater progress.