This week, New Zealand hosts the southern hemisphere’s largest agricultural show.
Jacqui and I will be joining the more than 130,000 others, expected to attend 2017 National Fieldays . It’s four days of high-profile AgTech goodness.
Fieldays really is a show for everyone. With its tractor pulling competitions, wood chopping, leisure marquees, Rural Bachelor of the Year 2017 competition and hard core agricultural products & services on display, it is designed to appeal to both rural and town folk alike. For Jacqui and me, the focus will once again be on the Fieldays Innovation Centre and the many, many stands which feature both established and emerging New Zealand AgTech.
A highlight for us will be the Fieldays Innovation Capital Event which takes place on Thursday evening. Sponsored by our good friends at Enterprise Angels, the Capital Event held during Fieldays 2016 saw 60 Innovation entrants network with over 180 influencers, investors and agribusinesses in this specialised environment in an effort to connect entrants with their targeted market. I am expecting a lot more of the same this week.
Outside these formal occasions, there is also the opportunity to network and engage with other key stakeholders in the country’s Agribusiness and AgTech community. Following last month’s Farming2020 event, our diary for this year’s Fieldays show has filled out fast. We will be meeting a number of other parties’ keen to help build a more structured AgTech ecosystem where innovation, investment and market access, both domestic and global, play the lead role.
Commercialising high value Kiwi AgTech is the name of the game as we work to ensure New Zealand firmly establishes itself as a genuine global AgTech hub. Over the coming weeks, expect some significant updates on this particular set of conversations.
This need was reinforced in Rob Trice and Bill Reichert’s panel discussion at Farming2020; ‘Taking New Zealand AgTech to the US’. Whilst as Kiwis, we like to think we punch above our weight, Rob & Bill’s rather harder-nosed venture capital take was less flattering. You can view their benchmarking of New Zealand’s startup performance in Silicon Valley with those of the Israelis, Irish, Dutch and the Nordics here. There are important lessons to be learnt.
At the same event, we heard four leading Kiwi AgTech thought leaders share their vision for ‘The future of AgTech in New Zealand’. This is great viewing to get a local perspective on what needs to be done to position New Zealand on the global stage.
So this week, we prepare to head to the Waikato keen to celebrate all that is good about New Zealand’s AgTech scene. The opportunities for global growth are real and so are the challenges. We will be posting our review of 2017 National Fieldays on this blog next Monday. And we will be uploading tweets throughout our visit of some of the many exciting things we expect to see.
If you have the opportunity, please take the time to visit Fieldays 2017. It’s a great advert for all that is good about New Zealand’s agriculture sector.