Australia Seeking More Foreign Investment Into Agriculture to Boost Growth

27 February 2019

The federal government is chasing more overseas investment in Australia’s emerging ag-tech sector as it looks to boost farm and technology exports.

Austrade is launching Australia for Ag as a lack of funds other than government grants threatens to hold back the next generation of smarter and more efficient farming and food production.

The government is concerned that although Australian start-ups and their innovative solutions to drought, plant disease, livestock management and other issues have caught international attention, it is not translating into major investment.

In 2017, 80 per cent of investments in ag-tech were less than $1 million, with most being government grants and accelerator programs.

Minister for trade and investment Simon Birmingham said on Tuesday the digital platform, known as Agriculture 4.0, would help connect Australian ag-tech and food-tech businesses with overseas investors and innovators.

“Our farmers are some of the most innovative in the world but we’re behind the pack when it comes to commercialising our food and farming technologies,” he said.

“We’re leading the way in areas such as ag biotechnology, novel farming systems, traceability tech and farming robotics, but the challenge is further developing these technologies into commercially viable products for wider use in Australia and overseas.”

The new platform will include case studies and insights from Australian ag-tech and food-tech innovators and start-up companies.