Bootstrapping helps New Zealand farmers

17 May, 2016

The ability to innovate, seek proper and enduring solutions to problems and resilience are some of the factors that contribute to the progress of New Zealand’s agricultural sector, an expert has said.

Simon Brown, General Manager, Accelerator Services, Callaghan Innovation, said that New Zealand has a unique faming and technological sector which complements each other for the overall benefit of the agricultural industry.

Technologists adept

“Our farmers are business people and our scientists in the agricultural area are farmers. Our farmers are predominantly growers and our technologists follow them to understand their needs and expectations,” he said.

He was speaking at the ongoing one-day Agri-Tech Summit organised by the India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) at Langham Hotel.

He is a member on a Panel of Experts currently deliberating on the overall theme of ‘Agritech Innovation.’

Mr Brown is leading the Accelerator Services Team and helps businesses to succeed through technology by accelerating their commercialisation of innovation.

“This involves working with them to identify their opportunities and barriers to growth including connecting them to the right technologies, talent and funding.”

Mr Brown said that New Zealand exports of agricultural, dairy, meat and other products currently feed about 40 million people in various parts of the world.

Growing global demand

This figure however pales with the existing global demand of about seven billion, slated to grow to 10 billion over the next 25 years.

“Agri Tech in New Zealand offers solutions to world problems through highly collaborate public and private sectors. Our farmers are unfettered by subsidises and focus on value. We have a proud history of boot scrapping,” he said.

Mr Brown however agreed that the size of farming geographic distance and limited output compared to growing world demand pose serious challenges.

“We still create impact in the markets in which we operate. However, we realise the need to be globally competitive,” he said.

The Panel

The Panel was led by Victoria Hallum, Manager, International Policy & Partnerships, Callaghan Innovation; Simon Brown, General Manager, Accelerator Services, Callaghan Innovation; Matt Flowerday, Founder & Managing Director, GPSiT, Dr Alastair Scarfe, Chief Operating Officer & Director, Robotics Plus; Andrew Cooke, Managing Director, Rezare Systems, and Craig MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer, Rezare Systems.

More than 200 people involved or interested in the agricultural sector are attending the INZBC Summit.

A number of experts, agri-producers and scientists from India are also in attendance, adding value to the event.

(Original article courtesy of