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Ag-Tech to revive Australia’s economy

Australian agriculture as a whole and ag-tech, in particular, will play a vital role in lifting the nation out of the current COVID-19 inspired economic downturn, according to the developer of livestock management software business AgriWebb.

He noted that the company has talked about the importance of agriculture internally, but now, with modelling showing agriculture delivers 12 percent of Australia’s GDP when including processing and retail, it is hopefully time the broader community sees the opportunities.

Agriculture accounts for 3-5 per cent of the nation’s GDP, up to 12 percent when factoring in processing. Thus, there is no reason why agriculture can’t be the backbone of the country’s economy, helping it navigate through the headwinds it is facing currently, the developer noted.

It must be acknowledged that agriculture is one of the country’s most resilient industries and that it can play just as an important role in Australia’s recovery as mining, as construction.

More specifically, agricultural technology, or ag-tech, would play a role in unlocking further value within the agricultural supply chain.

Looking at the surrounding export markets, most people are familiar with the story of the growing middle class in Asia, but to maximise the potential earnings in this area one needs to look at areas like traceability and that is where ag-tech can play a big role.

The developer stated that there were tech solutions to allow farmers to conduct traceability compliance without creating an unnecessary workload.

It is about turning things into a positive and if you have products that require no additional work on your behalf but can help you establish serious traceability and sustainability credentials then that can only be of benefit.

Moving forward, the developer has urged Australia’s ag-tech sector to deliver solutions in line with producer expectations.  Tech is only useful when it is solving a problem, the developer stated.

Ag-tech is opportunity in Australia

One report notes that in Australia, at least, it looks like the worst of the COVID-19 health crisis has passed, disrupting almost everything about everyday life as it went.

As the country starts to re-open, and considers the road to economic recovery, it is important to think about what the future looks like for all kinds of industries — even those that, at first glance, aren’t on the frontlines.

Agriculture has always been a significant part of the Australian economy. But, with global supply chains disrupted, international agreements breaking down, and distribution lines disappearing, it’s not immune to the effects of the pandemic.

The article goes on to explain that when it comes to ag-tech, it’s not as if the industry itself is under any threat of disruption — at least, not in the same way traditional taxi or hotel spaces have been disrupted, for example.

Instead, ‘disruption’ serves to shake up the way things have always been done, and potentially bring new opportunities and additional support to incumbents.

A Sydney startup, for example, uses sensors to analyse crop microclimates, and help farmers maximise their output.

Recently, the startup secured $11 million in investment. The capital itself is welcome, and the investment shows Aussie ag-tech is on the radar of international giants.

While a lot of time, money and effort goes towards “transient spaces” in tech, the agriculture space is not only huge, it’s critical and it’s lasting.

It is not just a huge and impactful and important industry, but also one that is just undergoing its digital transformation. And, Australia is at the forefront of that transformation.

One expert stated that the things that make Australian agriculture unique are only going to accelerate with these macro changes happening around the world.

There is a massive opportunity here. But it will not come be seized without government support and investments. The government and industry players must incentivise and create opportunities for this kind of investment

There’s recently been a surge of support for early-stage support for ag-tech, offering seed funding opportunities, is welcome and important.

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