The CEO of NZTech, Graeme Muller, has called for New Zealand’s agriculture industry to latch on to technology faster to support economic growth and become a world leader in a fast growing agritech market.
His call comes ahead of a report by the IoT Alliance, formed in March that is due out on 29 June. NZTech is also supporting the use of technology in agriculture through an alliance with the Precision Agriculture Association NZ, announced last September.
Muller said the IoT Alliance’s report would look at the economic value that IoT could bring the New Zealand economy and had identified that better use of IoT by dairy farmers could potentially generate as much as $448 million worth of net economic benefit for New Zealand.
“With our traditional strengths in agriculture and our growing strengths in tech, this is an opportunity we should pursue with vigour,” Muller said.
“Agriculture is a big user and creator of technology. Digital agriculture, in the form of precision farming, big data, sensor technology and drones, delivers a new potential for productivity gains across rural New Zealand.”
He added: “Tech sector innovations are being adopted in many agricultural areas with examples such as the application of precision agriculture on-farm and industry-wide information capture and utilisation through activities such as the development of initiatives such as the Dairy Data Network and Agrigate.
“Production costs have placed pressure on the competitive position of New Zealand agriculture in world markets. Reversing a slowdown in productivity growth is critical given the challenges the sector faces with strengthening environmental regulation.”
Muller was speaking at the annual Fieldays event in Hamilton, where, he said, growing awareness of the value of technology in agriculture could be seen by the number of farmers looking into technologies such as IoT, drones, sensors and robotics.
As Computerworld reported on 12 June, also on show at Fieldays is the Connecting Farms pilot, and Internet of Things project that is delivering connectivity to farms through an on-farm Wi-Fi mesh network, connected to the Internet via Spark’s 4G network and a low power wide area network based on LoRaWAN technology.