13 Jul 2021

Agritech industry grew over 2020, report shows

1:59 pm on 13 July 2021

The agritech industry is growing steadily, despite challenges posed by the pandemic.

Male farmer with laptop in field, closeup

(File image) Photo: 123RF

The Technology Investment Network (TIN) report for 2020 indicates there was growth across all parts of the sector, including the number of start-ups, export revenue, spending on research and development, and investment across all business types.

The top 22 agritech companies generated $1.4 billion in revenue.

Most of the new early stage companies offered information and communication technology, with a growing number offering biotech products.

Venture capital investment rose 13 percent to $127 million, while angel investment rose 48 percent to $160m.

The total value of exports rose 7.5 percent or $54.9m to $790.4m, which contributed just over half to the overall sector's exports.

TIN managing director Greg Shanahan said the sector was attracting strong investment, but still needed improved access to government supply contracts, as well as initiatives to develop homegrown talent.

"Most of the agritech companies are spread right throughout New Zealand and including provincial centres so there's an exciting provincial growth story there," he said, with agritech offering an opportunity to add value to primary industries, while reducing costs.

"So if we could get better alignment across some of those activities, in terms of the ability to engage on government contracts and engage with government departments, that certainly would help."

He said the domestic market had more potential for growth, which was the primary market for agritech products, accounting for 42.5 percent of the sector's total revenue.

North America is the second largest market at 25 percent, with Australia contributing 11 percent of the revenue.