Australian farmers are tech savvy and innovative. So why aren’t they embracing digital technology at the same pace as other industries?And why is the Australian AgTech sector, although growing rapidly, not keeping pace with leading AgTech nations like Israel and the US?
The answer lies in the disconnect between farmers and the technology companies creating the products.
To unlock the additional $20.3bn(1) to Australia’s agricultural industry that digital technologies could potentially bring, we need to bring them closer together.
We need to connect farmers and AgTech companies in an ecosystem designed to drive more productive and sustainable agricultural systems as well as the best possible products and services for a rapidly growing market.
When we established Food Agility CRC less than two years ago, we started by talking to a lot of farmers and industry bodies.
What we heard was a willingness to embrace technology and an understanding of the potential benefits. But there was also an underlying element of caution and uncertainty. We heard stories of technology that didn’t do what it said on the tin, of multiple data collections for tools that didn’t talk to each other and of buying products that weren’t right for their industry.
There was so much great AgTech out there, they said, but how could they sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’, so to speak. How could they know what’s available, what’s right for their farm and what works?
And so AgTech Finder was born (www.agtechfinder.com). It’s due to launch in mid-2019 and is a comprehensive directory of available agricultural technology designed specifically for producers.
AgTech Finder is supported by some major organisations in the agricultural sector including National Farmers’ Federation, Meat and Livestock Australia, IAG, AgriFutures and KPMG. Together, we represent and/or provide services to tens of thousands of Australian farmers.
We’re doing this together because we want the Australian agrisystem to be prosperous and sustainable and because we believe passionately in the power of digital technology.
AgTech Finder isn’t just a list of products. It is an online marketplace where farmers can search for products based on industry and problem. It will also gather data about what farmers want that we can feed back into technology development so AgTech companies can innovate.
NFF President Fiona Simson called it “the missing piece of the puzzle that will see AgTech take off in Australia, delivering big benefits for farmers and technology companies alike”.
Ultimately, AgTech Finder will mean more Australian farmers using better AgTech. That can only be a good thing for the future of the Australian agrisystem.
Registrations are now open to list products on AgTechFinder (it’s free!). Register by end of May to secure your listing for the site launch.