Powering Growth: Realising the potential of AgTech for Australia

Realising the potential of AgTech for Australia

A StartupAUS report, co-authored by KPMG, and supported by the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), aims to uncover the opportunities for Australia in agricultural technology.

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Realising the potential of AgTech for Australia

Powering growth

The report makes a series of recommendations aimed at growing the AgTech sector in Australia in order to provide producers with the tools, data and knowledge to make more informed and timely on-farm decisions and improve productivity and sustainability.

Drawing on discussions with more than 60 stakeholders – including AgTech startups, farmers and agribusinesses, research bodies, government, and investors, the report identifies three key components necessary for Australian agtech to reach its full potential – capital, connectivity and direction.

Why AgTech?

A value chain exists that encompasses the very first input into production of our food and continues all the way through to the customer. The customer ultimately drives change by providing the demand for various types of food, the source of food, how food is delivered and limitation of wastage. Improved connectedness across each link of this chain will enable farmers to be better able to provide a sufficient and sustainable food supply to meet customers’ needs.

AgTech, biotech, genetech, foodtech, and food ecommerce are all important elements of the integrated value chain. AgTech specifically, operates almost exclusively in the initial input and production phases.

Key insights

  • Government plays a key role in mobilising Australia’s agtech ecosystem.
  • The corporate sector has a key role in supporting AgTech startups through the creation of innovation hubs.
  • We need to address interoperability of data and connectivity for AgTech to flourish in Australia.
  • Digital technology is changing the role and size of the agribusiness labour force, effecting over 300,000 people working in Australia's 123,000+ agribusinesses.
  • Australia’s challenge is to accelerate the application of AgTech on farm and encourage and excite new tech savvy talent to pursue careers in agriculture.

Key recommendations

  • Establish an independently-administered fund designed to make AgTech more affordable to industry.
  • Develop a marketplace for AgTech products.
  • Establish a network of AgTech hubs.
  • Establish a joint R&D fund with leading global AgTech players.
  • Increase funding for the Accelerating Commercialisation component of the Entrepreneur’s Programme, including a specific pool of funds prioritising investment in AgTech startups.
  • Develop a nation-wide AgTech strategy.
  • Provide direction to university and RDC research via KPIs centred on commercialisation of technology and shorter grant periods that encourage agile testing.

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