The executive director of the recently formed New Zealand IoT Alliance, Kriv Naicker, has called for government support of the group, its sister organisation the New Zealand AI Forum and the broader tech industry to help address the food needs of a growing global population.
His comments were made in the run up to a conference in Christchurch in early December at which the future of food will be discussed.
“Key tech leaders will attend the Feed the World 2030: Power of Plants Hackathon event on December 2 and 3,” Naicker said.
“This will provide an opportunity for agritech food innovators, scientists, industry experts and tech entrepreneurs to begin shaping New Zealand’s agricultural platforms for the future.”
According to Naicker, with timely help from the tech sector, New Zealand agriculture has an opportunity to create sustainable economic growth and establish itself on the world stage.
“Farmers’ uptake of technology is becoming the norm in the rural sector. Smart farming and precision agriculture is helping farmers get better results on the land with enhanced tech forecasting and IoT sensor data collection and analytics, optimising resources and supplies.
"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.
"Tech promises to cut costs and enable faster repayment of both irrigation scheme and farm infrastructure capital, while allowing farmers to demonstrate their compliance with environmental and other regulatory requirements."
He added: "We know the world is heading toward a major food supply crisis. By 2050, the planet’s human population will reach beyond nine billion, requiring food production to double to meet demands.
Naicker pointed out at film industry celebrities James Cameron and Sir Peter Jackson had entered the food supply arena, creating a Future Foods project that is looking at producing protein from plants.
“Both Sir Peter and Cameron have identified the huge potential in this area and will need to leverage significant IoT and AI to achieve farmer to plate innovation,” he said.