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NZ to take ownership of a new global agritech initiative

NZ to take ownership of a new global agritech initiative

January 30, 2019

New Zealand is going to take ownership of a new global agritech initiative, AgritechNZ chief executive Peter Wren-Hilton says.

Wren-Hilton has just returned from the US where he met a number of key AgritechNZ partners in Farm2050 which was set up to solve the global food challenge. By the year 2050, the global population will reach 10 billion people, requiring a 70 percent increase in food production.

Wren-Hilton says the main purpose of the trip was to discuss preparation for the three-year agritech initiative based on identifying disruptive technologies around nutrients.

“I met several leaders from a number of the world’s largest agribusinesses such as Bayer CropScience, Corteva, Syngenta, and Nutrien.

“We looked at the impact of nutrient application and measurement from two perspectives; plant absorption efficiency and environmental impact. For farmers and growers in New Zealand, both are key metrics.

“As Farm2050’s first country partner, New Zealand has a pivotal role to play. We have advanced farming systems and deep domain knowledge.

“We produce some of the finest agricultural product in the world. Yet our farmers and growers are well aware of the regulatory environment in which they now operate. Consumer concerns about environmental impact, negative media comment and government regulation are all affecting sentiment within the primary sector.

“As a first step, Farm2050, in conjunction with AgritechNZ, will work with New Zealand farmers, leading agriculture co-operatives and government to establish field trials to test select emerging nutrient technologies.

“We plan to engage with New Zealand’s major existing players in this space, as well as early stage agritech companies seeking to address these critical issues.

“There is also great science often locked up in our universities and crown research institutes. Leveraging these combined assets can help New Zealand’s agritech sector take a global lead in improving both plant absorption efficiency, as well as reducing environmental impact through the smarter use of nutrients.”

Wren-Hilton says he will soon be releasing a detailed white paper that will drive the agritech initiative. He will also be announcing some of the globally-recognised companies that will be working with AgritechNZ to help scale the initiative in New Zealand.

“As New Zealand sets out its targets for reducing carbon emissions and improving water quality over the coming years, the Farm2050 initiative will go a long way to supporting this ambition. For Agritech New Zealand and its members, it’s a very exciting way to kick off 2019,” Wren-Hilton says.

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