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Agricultural technology set for monumental growth

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. Thriving agtech clusters, world-class life sciences institutions and high-quality produce, make NSW the ideal environment for agribusiness innovation.

A rising middle class, especially in the Asia Pacific, is moving from a simple diet to one that’s much higher in the kind of agriculturally-intensive foods in which Australia and NSW specialise. At the same time, demand for locally-grown sustainable food is growing in the domestic market.

Global warming and diminishing natural resources present obstacles to meeting this changing demand. So too does the rising cost of energy, labour, fertiliser, seeds and herbicides. These challenges have created the perfect environment for Agtech to grow.

NSW is at the forefront of using technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) to increase agricultural productivity. But agtech isn't just changing the face of farming; it's helping save farming land. Technological advances ensure we can produce, supply and store food sustainably.

Move to an unrivalled Agtech environment

Australia plays a pre-eminent role in agricultural technology research, with nine of the top 100 life science universities in the world located here. Three of these are in NSW. Our world-leading technology hubs and research facilities (listed below) bring together industry, academia and government to commercialise new products and processes.

  • The New England Agtech cluster in Armidale, backed by the New South Wales Government and underpinned by the University of New England.
  • Wagga Wagga’s Agtech Hub incorporates the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Graham Centre and Charles Sturt University.
  • The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Global Ag-Tech Ecosystem (GATE), a collaborative research and technology facility in Australia specifically designed to develop agTech ideas. At this hub, students access DPI experts and networks from the largest agricultural research and development provider in Australia. The ecosystem incorporates 25 research stations across NSW and 13,000 hectares of trial farms. More about GATE.

Current Agtech investment opportunities in Sydney and NSW

The many current investment opportunities in Sydney and NSW include:

  • Developing a cold supply chain. The construction of Western Sydney Airport and a supporting agricultural precinct presents the opportunity to develop an integrated cold supply chain network across NSW. A new supply chain could unlock value in the agricultural sector across the state and increase fresh produce exports to the Asia Pacific region.
  • Agtech leadership. Agtech has the potential to be a leading source of technological manufacturing. The opportunity exists to export high tech products to a global market in need of innovative solutions to meet exploding demand for food. Australia’s high-tech exports rose by US$1.44 billion between 2009 to 2014, or 44.3%. In the same period, high-tech as a percentage of manufactured exports rose from 11.9% to 13.6%.
  • Eliminating wastage. By ensuring the supply of fresh produce, AgTech can help play a key role in reducing Australia’s food wastage. We currently throw away four million tonnes or $8 billion of produce a year. AgTech can also reduce the impact of weeds on farms and in waterways. Weed control costs the Australian agricultural industry $1.5 billion a year and weeds account for $2.5 billion in lost production.
  • Global market opportunity. NSW and Sydney are connected to global agricultural markets. AgTech is a worldwide opportunity that’s estimated to be worth as much as US$189 billion between 2013 and 2022.
  • An industry suited to startups. Australian agriculture is a high-value national industry with significant potential for innovative impact. In other words, it’s the kind of industry that’s ripe for startups to disrupt.

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    Read more about opportunities in AgTech in Regional NSW.

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    If you are interested in finding out more about the AgTech sector in NSW, get in touch with the NSW Investment Concierge today.

Case study: Cisco and the NSW Government

Cisco works with NSW Department of Primary Industries to create the future of farming.

In 2016, Cisco, along with an ecosystem of partners, officially launched Innovation Central Sydney.

The Sydney centre is focused on developing new ideas and ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) solutions for agriculture, transport and smart cities.

Initial partners include CSIRO’s Data61, University of NSW, National Farmers’ Federation, NSW Farmers Association, ATP Innovations and NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Cisco experts, industry partners and ecosystem startups will develop proof-of-concepts, features and functionalities, as well as prototyping.

Watch the video below to see how Cisco and NSW Department of Industries are creating the future of farming.