AgriFutures evokeAG. dares the agricultural industry to think differently - evokeAG.

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AgriFutures evokeAG. dares the agricultural industry to think differently

For a second consecutive day 1,600, innovators, investors, researchers, founders and producers flocked to the Adelaide Convention Centre for AgriFutures evokeAG. 2023 – the Asia Pacific’s premier agrifood tech event.

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey said evokeAG. 2023 has once again cemented itself as a world-class event, igniting the agrifood tech innovation ecosystems both at home and abroad.

“If these last two days have shown us anything, it’s how precious time is, and how important collaboration will be moving forward – to achieve our goals as a nation and as a global food system,” said Mr Harvey.

“In a time where face-to-face wasn’t possible for us, evokeAG. stayed true to its purpose – to continue supporting agriculture and the agrifood tech community by building the connections within Australia and around the world every day of the year. We focused on showcasing startups, researchers and innovators doing incredible things with our online platforms and growAG.,” said Mr Harvey.

“But it is not the same as face-to-face and I am so proud that we’ve been able to bring together 1,600 delegates from Australia, New Zealand and around the world over the last two days. We’ve curated an opportunity in the Southern Hemisphere to create these connections face-to-face and to showcase Australian agriculture to the world.”

Opening the day’s proceedings, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Minister for Emergency Management, Senator Murray Watt, took to the stage mapping out his vision for Australia’s agriculture industry for 2023.

“Despite the ongoing challenges associated with the impacts of recent climate events, Australia’s agricultural exports are in an incredibly strong position and forecast to break records at over $72 billion this financial year,” said Minister Watt.

Our farming systems are resilient but we know that research and development will continue to play a pivotal role in the success of our primary industries in the future.”

“The Albanese Government shares the industry’s vision for agriculture to become a $100 billion industry by 2030, and is backing research and innovation that will help to achieve that goal.
“evokeAG. is a world-class event and a win for South Australia and the nation’s ag sector,” said Minister Watt.

Dr Penny Schultz, Minister Scriven, Minister Watt, John Harvey

Dr Penny Schultz, Minister Scriven, Minister Watt, John Harvey at evokeAG 2023

Speaking alongside her federal counterpart, South Australia’s Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, and Minister for Forest Industries, the Hon Clare Scriven MLC endorsed the conference’s objectives and outcomes for the state.

“It has been a great privilege to host evokeAG.  in South Australia as we welcome some of the world’s leading minds in food system, farming and technology gather here today. Conversations held in this room will continue to have a lasting impact on our food and innovation sectors long after the conference concludes, helping us to respond to the changing market conditions and opportunities across the agricultural industry,” said Minister Scriven.

“Each year, regional South Australia contributes $29 billion to our state’s economy, with just 25% of the state’s population living outside of our metropolitan areas. In order for our state to thrive, we need our regions to thrive and increasing the capacity of our agricultural outputs will play a crucial role in achieving this,” said Minister Scriven.

Tackling the big challenges

Day two’s program saw another 68 speakers from eight different countries take to the stage to inspire, challenge, and transform the way we think about food and farming into the future.

Highlights from the day included a robust and wide-ranging panel discussion around four significant challenges – climate, conflict, COVID-19 and cost, which continue to disrupt global agricultural trade.

Internationally recognised thought leader and head of global agribusiness advisory, The Shelman Group, Mary Shelman told the Plenary Session: “The biggest challenge ahead of us is to position ourselves as the sustainable food system of the future, rather than the agricultural system of the past.”

“However, the definition of sustainability is evolving. The environment is one piece of it, but today, sustainability can also include animal welfare, and how labour is treated in other countries. So there are still questions around, ‘What exactly is a sustainable food system? And what are the pathways to achieve it?’” said Ms Shelman.

A thought-provoking second Plenary Session challenged delegates to consider Australian agriculture’s billion dollar question: are we doing enough on biosecurity to safeguard our sector, and the producers who depend upon it. With the threat of Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease still on high alert, and Varroa mite discoveries on home soil, the Plenary Session drew in large numbers of primary producers and policy makers alike.

Panel facilitator and Principal of Agsecure, Andrew Henderson, welcomed the cross-sector sharing of knowledge that emerged from the discussion.

“Biosecurity policy must be good enough meet the needs of individual enterprises while transcending industries and governments to meet Australia’s national interest, that’s the enduring challenge. A holistic approach, combined with a sharing of resources, expertise and support across all sectors is crucial to meeting this challenge, prospering Australian agriculture, and safeguarding our reputation in the global market,” said Mr Henderson.

Platform for the changemakers of the future

Adding their voices to the mix across the days, were seven evokeAG. Future Young Leaders. Selected to showcase their ideas and perspectives, the participants were given the opportunity to network with industry leaders and share their ideas in front of an audience across days 1 and 2.

evokeAG Future Young Leaders

Travelling from her family’s property from the small community of Bellimbopinni, on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast, Ability Agriculture Founder and Future Young Leader recipient, Josie Clarke appreciates AgriFutures for enabling opportunities for awide range of voices to be heard.

“Our agricultural industries are strengthened through sharing the diverse experiences and skill sets of those who work within them,” said Ms Clarke.

“It was an honour to be selected for this the evokeAG.  Future Young Leaders Program and to be given a platform to demonstrate the immense value people with disabilities bring to our rural communities and industries, not only showing that agriculture can be a truly inclusive and accessible career option, but also creating a positive, proactive conversation around the capacity of people with disability,” said Ms Clarke.

Investing in agrifoodtech

The afternoon focused on investment in agrifood tech: where is it, how can founders get it, and what trends are driving it.

In the last fireside chat for the two-day event, AgFunder’s Founding Partner, Michael Dean and Tenacious Ventures Managing Partner, Sarah Nolet took a deep dive into what startups and investors can expect from the funding landscape over the next 12 months. Mr Dean provided delegates with an exclusive preview to AgFunder’s annual Global Agrifoodtech investment report trends as well as providing predictions on the 2023 funding landscape.

After another inspiring day of discussion, connection and collaboration, John Harvey drew the curtains on evokeAG. 2023, reflecting on an event that demonstrated year-on-year commitment to global agrifood tech innovation.

“evokeAG. was created to shine a spotlight the fabulous agrifood tech innovation happening here in Australia, to hear from the rest of the world and to drive innovation in the Asia-Pacific region. But it’s become so much more than that, it’s an engaged community 365 days a year, with a collective passion to drive change,” said Mr Harvey.

“We look forward to keeping the conversations flowing at evokeAG. 2024 in Melbourne where we can share more fruitful conversations and continue driving change together,” concluded Mr Harvey.

evokeAG. 2023 is powered by AgriFutures Australia and funded by the Australian Government, Platinum Partner Elders, and Host City Partner the Government of South Australia.

evokeAG. connects the agrifood innovation community across the Asia Pacific and around the world. We do this by providing a digital platform and a premier agrifood tech event where farmers share their experiences, startups pitch their potential, scientists showcase their discoveries, global business leaders share their insights and industry experts debate their opinions. evokeAG. provides innovative news and views from around the world that elevates the conversation and connects the agrifood innovation community, every day.

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