Agri tech and innovation showcased at international summit
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Food and agribusiness sector delegates explore future of agri tech and innovation at international summit

More than 1200 farmers and food and agribusiness industry stakeholders from around the world converged on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island last week for a summit on future innovation in the food and agricultural sector.

The one-day Farm2Fork Summit, held on November 3, brought together agribusiness industry leaders, local and international farmers, food and agri start-ups, technology innovators, investors and other sector stakeholders.

The summit examined the challenge the world faces in feeding more than 12 billion people by 2100 and the role that will be played by agri tech and innovation in the food and agribusiness sector.

Netherlands-based Rabobank Group executive board member Berry Marttin told the Farm2Fork that innovation was the only way the world would be able to rise to this challenge.

“The reality is we don’t have any more resources and land available so the only way we will be able to feed that many more people is to develop new technologies and invest in innovation, to increase yields and do things in a smarter way,” he said.

Australia had significant opportunity to benefit from future innovation in agriculture, Mr Marttin said.  “Australia has great weather and the space to do a lot of things, so innovation here is going to be about how do you double the yields on farm and you will have to look at every opportunity to do so. This will include looking at things like precision farming and at using nature to combat pests and fertiliser,” he said.

Mr Marttin said the era of the chemical revolution in increasing yields in agriculture was passing, with the sector now needing to look at new ways to increase production. “We need to go to the next generation of ideas and we need to use technology and to use nature to do that,” he said.

The Farm2Fork Summit showcased a wide range of agri innovators from a business using fly larvae to produce feed for livestock to a company harvesting seaweed to produce foods including pasta, snack foods, salt and batter, with a production system 20 times more productive than most land-based crops.

Also held on the day was Australia’s first FoodBytes! event, which saw eight innovative agri tech start-up ventures showcase their business concepts to potential investors and compete for awards.

Winner of the FoodBytes! Judges’ Choice Award was kitchen-sharing platform Sprout Kitchens, an innovative marketplace for commercial kitchen space, sourcing cafes and kitchens with under-utilised space to rent to other food businesses looking for commercial kitchens.

The People’s Choice Award, voted by the delegates at the Farm2Fork Summit, went to AgriWebb,  a  software  company  providing  end-to-end  farm  management  solutions. Incorporating ‘real-time’ record keeping, a mapping service and livestock analysis features –  the software  developed for  farmers  aims to simplify data collection for  improved management decision-making.

The summit also played host to the King and Queen of the Netherlands, who visited as part of their state visit to Australia to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog landing on the coast of WA.

The FoodBytes! winners were congratulated by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, while King Willem-Alexander gave a keynote address to the summit.

The Farm2Fork Summit was also addressed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP.

Other presenters included: Nuradin Osman, managing director Africa and Middle East for AGCO Corporation; Peter Wanckel, managing director of John Deere Limited Australia/New Zealand; Dr Daniel Walker, research director, Agriculture and Global Change, CSIRO Agriculture and Katy Barfield, CEO Yume and SecondBite, as well as leading farmers from countries including Paraguay, Brazil and The Netherlands.

Members of a visiting Dutch trade mission, comprising more than 100 companies from the Netherlands in Australia to identify and develop business opportunities, were also hosted on the day.

Further information is available at:

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 115 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.6 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 94 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Media contacts:

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: 02 8115 2744 or 0439 603 525 

Skye Ward
Media Relations Manager
Rabobank Australia
Phone: 02 4855 1111 or 0418 216 103