The Australian agriculture industry grows and produces every single crop available to the planet because of its climatic diversity. Couple this with difficult growing conditions and small populations over a large area, and we see an industry driven to find innovative solutions – a ripe base for AgTech development.
The use and implementation of AgTech is revolutionising a traditional Australian industry – agriculture – and it is this technology that will maintain Australia’s competitiveness on a global scale, in terms of sustainability, productivity and opportunity.
AgTech is critical in building Australia’s agriculture industry.
What is AgTech?
Short for agricultural technologies, (also known as AgriTech), AgTech is defined as the collection of digital technologies that provide the agricultural industry with the tools, data and knowledge to make more informed and timelier on-farm decisions and improve productivity and sustainability.
It is technology that relates to the early part of the agricultural production process.
Contemporary AgTech is different from the historical agriculture technological contribution because of the rapidity and extent the technology can reach a global market.
Australia’s AgTech industry
Experts consider Australia to be one of the most innovative agriculture industries in the world.
Our homegrown AgTech development can help the Australian farmer improve its production and help other countries achieve new production potentials.
- Agricultural technology, or Agtech, is predicted to become Australia’s next $100 billion industry by 2030.
- The sector is fast becoming a vital part of the NSW economy and a growing source of both income and investment.
- Australia currently has over 209 agritech startups (Sept 2019) and an substantial increase in investor funding – the SproutX VC fund alone, has invested in 19 startups in one year.
- The agriculture industry receives $600 million in government funding per annum, incentivising the industry and further shoring it as a reputable and globalised sector.
Mr Bernard Salt, Australia’s leading demographer and futurist, says ‘It will be ideal for Australia and the region of Orana and it will certainly be exciting to encourage entrepreneurship in agribusiness and looking at ways of scaling agribusiness, of growing, marketing and packaging and aligning with businesses in Canada, the US and New Zealand.’
With the extreme growing conditions and climatic diversity of the Australian climate, Australia has an advantage as a testing ground for innovative AgTech technology in one country. This diverse testing will allow for our innovations to be applicable worldwide.
The Australian AgTech industry is already filled with innovation with lots of new technology and creativity in the field in the pipeline.
GrowLab is Australia’s accelerator for agrifood deep tech startups by Cicada Innovations. Every year they spend six months surrounding visionary startup founders with everything they need to build a strong, investable agrifood tech company. Providing funding, facilities, mentoring and access to regional Australia, GrowLab focuses specifically on science-based, or deep learning agri-food startups.
Cicada has been called home to over 300 businesses, helping its portfolio companies raise over $344 million in capital, file over 500 patents, and exiting 14 businesses through trade sale and Initial Public Offering.
It is globally recognised as the number one incubator in the World by InBIA. Cicada Innovations is owned by four of Australia’s leading universities: Australian National University, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney.
The SproutX Accelerator is Australia’s first AgTech focused program for early stage startups. Gathering the best entrepreneur mentors, venture capitalists, agribusiness and government in the one place, they offer startups the opportunity to create world class growth companies.
The UNE SMART Region Incubator (SRI) has launched “AgTech Gateway”, a new program offering tailored, one-on-one support to AgTech start-ups and scale-ups in the New England North West region of NSW.
AgTech Gateway is funded by AusIndustry to provide individualised support to new businesses with innovative ideas. The program leverages real-world corporate financial advice on strategy ‘tuned’ to the agricultural and technology domains.
Australian AgTech slow to commercialise
Australia’s burgeoning AgTech industry is booming, however, investment, work and support is needed to strengthened to commercialisation of the technology on a global level.
This is partly due to the fact that venture capital in Australian AgTech is in early stages with long lead times. However, Australia is currently seeing the opening of local funds and an increase in the size of funding raised.
Australian businesses doing AgTech
Provenir – instead of animals going to the abattoir, the abattoir comes to the farm.
Provenir eliminates the stress to livestock associated with live transport to the processors, increase yield for the farmer and produce meat of exceptional quality, taste and tenderness.
Their innovative Mobile Processing Unit has been built and is currently being commissioned and soon to be licensed. The unit has taken over three years to design and build – and now is on the cusp of going into operation.
Agridigital is a startup using cloud-based blockchain technology to transform farmers supplychain – buy, sell and store – grain. It can also manage contracts, deliveries, inventory, orders, invoices and payments in one platform in real time.
A wind turbine manufacturer, Windturbine produced its first prototypes in 2016.
It aims to solve issues with remote water pumping requirements for agriculture, using renewable energy sources. The Windturbine solution combines wind and solar, along with battery storage, to provide a 24-hour “pump on demand” solution to remote irrigation.
…and there’s more here!
Development of AgTech holds the key to sustainable agriculture, here and around the world. With boundless opportunities for collaboration in Australia’s AgTech industry, start by getting in touch with your Abdera business advisor, who can talk you through doing business in Australia. Call our office on +61 2 8916 6259 or contact us here.
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