To thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, NZ’s primary sector must constantly innovate to meet the rapidly-changing needs of consumers.
To thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, New Zealand’s primary sector must constantly innovate and reinvent itself to meet the rapidly-changing needs of consumers.
The latest edition of KPMG’s Agribusiness Agenda has highlighted how the fusion of new digital and biotechnologies with traditional physical practices will place the agri-food sector at the centre of change.
Ian Proudfoot, KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, says New Zealand’s primary sector must be prepared to completely transform itself – because the future will look radically different within 5-10 years.
“What has delivered us success in the past will not bring success in the future,” says Proudfoot.
“Change will be coming at speed from all quarters; including innovation from competitors, new disruptors entering the market, and changes demanded by our consumers.”
In preparing the Agenda, KPMG sought input from over 150 primary sector leaders during a series of roundtable discussions. Ian Proudfoot says the current dairy downturn has challenged leaders to think more deeply about their future.
“People are speculating over whether we’ve reached peak dairy, and focusing on how we can realise more value from the attributes of grass fed milk. They’re also thinking about the other available uses for the country’s land –particularly irrigated land – that may deliver higher returns in the future.”
Boosting the sector’s innovation capability was a key priority identified by sector leaders.
“There’s no shortage of good ideas in New Zealand – but we often lack the commercialisation skills to take the solution from the lab to the world market,” says Proudfoot.
“One suggestion is to create a standalone capital fund that takes early-stage investment positions in transformational technologies.”
Another important topic was the role of governance in our primary sector organisations. There is a concern that many boards have a disproportionate focus on risk and compliance, at the expense of growth strategies. The new era of disruption will also require people with fresh thinking and mission-critical skills – which may require some companies to rebalance the mix of skills available to the board.
Other themes highlighted as key priorities in the latest Agribusiness Agenda include:
With the coming of the fourth industrial revolution, the primary sector will find itself at the centre of change.
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