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Agritech New Zealand has forged a partnership with a major American company to speed up growth of agritech in New Zealand.

The partnership with Western Growers will strengthen and accelerate the development of agritech markets in both countries, Agritech NZ executive director Peter Wren-Hilton (pictured) said from Salinas, California, today.

Hank Giclas, Western Growers’ senior vice president, strategic planning, science and technology said there were a myriad of issues severely impacting agriculture and the production of food globally.

“Building a two-way bridge for agricultural technology will result in international collaboration where we can create, transfer and share knowledge and experiences about new technologies that can help solve the industry’s most pressing issues.” 

The agreement establishes a business relationship focused on providing in-market support for agritech companies in New Zealand. 

It also opens doors for New Zealand agritech companies to enter the US market via the Western Growers Centre for Innovation and Technology in California and for US based agritech startups to access the New Zealand market.

Wren-Hilton says connecting New Zealand’s agriculture innovation ecosystems will benefit innovators, growers, investors, regulators, researchers and public stakeholders not only in both countries, but around the globe.

“We are excited to embark on this new partnership to foster economic growth in the US and New Zealand through international connections and missions.”

Western Growers provide a co-working space that offers agritech start-up companies access to training and mentorship; monthly seminars; regularly scheduled events; and exclusive events with Western Group members such as specialty crop farmers in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. 

As part of the deal, the community that Agritech NZ serves will now have access to Western Growers offerings. 

The American company will work with Agritech NZ to evaluate opportunities to conduct research and development trials with potential New Zealand partners during the northern hemisphere off season.

Western Growers, founded in 1926 represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. 

Their members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce. 

Agritech NZ was launched earlier this year to connect agritech innovators, investors, regulators, researchers and interested public. It is helping build a world class agritech ecosystem but New Zealand needs to integrate agriculture and technology to strengthen its primary export sector.

As the world’s demand for food increases with its ever-growing population, New Zealand can expand its primary sector further by focusing on producing higher value produce for the world, Wren-Hilton says.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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