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Putting Australian agribusiness on a surer footing

Australia’s agriculture industry is built on innovation, with farmers adopting new technologies to navigate the effects of climate change, and researchers creating breakthroughs in everything from plant breeding to genetics. But a disconnect between researchers, farmers, founders and investors has often acted as a handbrake to unlocking value.카지노사이트

“From a natural resource perspective, we are very lucky in Australia,” says Fern Ho, the founder of agrifood start-up the Leaf Protein Co. “Our brand name as an agricultural commodities producing country is very strong, and we export a lot of good stuff.

“But because of that, I think it has been easy for us to rely on this approach. We have all the sheep, but the wool’s sent overseas to be processed. The corollary of that in food is something like wheat protein. We grow a lot of grains and other commodity food products that have the potential to be converted into higher value food ingredients or finished products. Rather than sending them overseas and back again, there’s a real economic opportunity we’re missing.”

The Leaf Protein Co, which specialises in using regenerative plants as protein sources, is aiming to take that next step. But raising capital locally has been a challenge, and Ho turned to American investors to fund her company’s first term sheet. To help close the gap and connect local founders with investors and innovators, AgriFutures Australia has launched the online platform growAG. Managing director John Harvey argues the potential is there for Australia to become the epicentre of the agrifood tech sector in the Southern Hemisphere.

“That’s what we should be aspiring to,” Harvey says. “We’ve got great farmers; we’ve got fantastic scientists; we’ve got cutting-edge technology and we’ve got a whole range of production environments. We shouldn’t just stop at exporting wheat. We should also be exporting technology.”

One of the key objectives for AgriFutures Australia – a research and development corporation funded by government and industry – is to connect the local sector with global innovation networks. After initially investing in a handful of start-ups, the organisation quickly realised it could create more impact by bringing together key players.

“We asked ourselves: how do you connect Australian start-ups with investors, researchers and customers, both locally and globally?”

The results were growAG and evokeAG, a community supported by online and in-person events. “GrowAG is a great starting point if you’re interested in innovation in Australia,” Harvey says. “The platform has 80,000 users; a third are based overseas. There are over 150 commercial opportunities listed and 2700 research projects.”

After participating in the Victorian agrifood tech start-up accelerator Rocket Seeder in 2020, Ho used growAG to raise capital for the Leaf Protein Co. “It has been a nice stepping stone to announce our start-up concept to the industry and then move into commercial opportunities,” she says.

Not only did growAG connect Ho with sources of investment, but she also met an agronomist who introduced her to local growers and farmers on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

“We asked ourselves: how do you connect Australian start-ups with investors, researchers and customers, both locally and globally?”

— John Harvey, managing director of Agrifutures Australia

“That connection gave me the opportunity to see first-hand what was viable, and really understand the logistics of what we’re trying to do, which was invaluable. The Leaf Protein Co is entering another round of funding soon, and we’ll be looking to announce that opportunity on the growAG platform.”

Crucially, Harvey notes growAG is supported by a team of real people via a unique concierge service.

“If you send an email, we’ll phone you back,” he says. “Somebody might inquire about a commercial opportunity, but when we talk to them, we discover they have other interests. We can quite quickly connect you with a whole lot of other people you probably haven’t even realised existed.”바카라사이트

Users can submit opportunities for investors or partners, submit innovation challenges and research opportunities, and raise awareness by submitting organisation profiles and showcasing research projects.

Meanwhile, AgriFutures Australia’s evokeAG community has evolved to showcase emerging technologies and industry leaders and drive positive impact for farmers and the supply chain. EvokeAG offers an online community for farmers to share their experiences, start-ups to pitch ideas, scientists to showcase their discoveries, and leaders and experts to debate ideas. There is also an annual in-person event, which is Asia Pacific’s premier agrifood tech event.

“In 2020, we had 1500 people, about $4 billion worth of managed capital in the room and a third of the participants were from overseas,” Harvey notes. “It was a great opportunity to connect us with what was happening globally.”

With the world facing grand challenges from transitioning to net zero to feeding more people with fewer resources, Harvey says innovation in the sector will be crucial to creating a sustainable future. “Whether you live in the country or live in the city, agriculture is central to your survival.”온라인카지노

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