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Agritech companies helping reduce NZ’s rural emissions
New Zealand’s agritech companies are helping meet the country’s climate commitments and their innovations are valued internationally which will drive agritech export growth and create future proof jobs for Kiwis.
Agritech could be destined to save the New Zealand economy, leading New Zealand tech expert Graeme Muller says.
The tremendous worldwide demand for food continues to soar with some estimating the market to be worth $US3 trillion and much of the growth coming from specialty and healthy foods, the NZTech chief executive says,
“Combining two of New Zealand’s leading sectors, agriculture and technology, shows just how we can improve New Zealand farming, food production and health while also growing our exports. We are on the cusp of some massive and exciting tech changes in our lives.”
AgriTechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says agritech has a key role to play in cutting emissions as well as boosting export earnings.
Nearly $340 million of the $2.9 billion in this week’s climate funding announcement will go to setting up a centre for climate action on agricultural emissions. It will focus on enabling the uptake of technology based on research of ways to cut methane on the farm.
O’Connell says the government’s plan to reduce emissions acknowledges the role agritech companies play in getting mitigation research into the hands of producers sooner.
“The new centre for climate action on agricultural emissions will drive tech innovation and uptake on farms. This builds on extensive agricultural greenhouse gas research.
“It takes an entire community of people to enable conditions which sees research make it into the hands of practitioners who are prepared to adapt their practices. This community includes government, researchers across multiple disciplines, industry groups, tech companies and producer groups.
“Strong research collaborations in New Zealand and internationally are creating mitigation tools that include animal diets and selective breeding, soil carbon measures, renewable energy and energy efficiency, input reductions, per animal productivity improvements and scaling of regenerative practices.
“AgriTechNZ, government and industry partners to are working on critical foundations needed to enable understanding and adoption of the technologies.
“This includes improved capabilities for data exchange, an approach to the agriculture emissions pricing rollout that encourages innovation, and a greater understanding of adoption pathways for technology.
“The most promising change technologies are several years away from use on pasture, so the ground needs to be prepared now with suitable farm environmental plans and an ability to use data.
“AgriTechNZ research on technology adoption shows 58 percent of farming businesses have a positive intent for tech use on farms, but many need support to make that intent a reality.
“Tech companies are constantly supporting solutions in the field and it is not just government making investments.”
Private sector investors are getting behind companies such as Pastoral Robotics who can sense and treat nitrous oxide sources whilst also improving pasture quality and another company, Eko360, which is controlling the release of fertiliser nutrients.
Fonterra’s team are developing Kowbucha, which could potentially switch off the bad bugs that create the methane in cows.
New Zealand’s goal is to reduce methane by 10 percent by 2030, and 24 to 47 percent by 2050.
For further information contact Brendan O’Connell on 021 369740 or NZTech’s media specialist, Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.