NZ to learn from European agricultural innovators

Like New Zealand, innovation is seen as a major driving force in the future growth of Europe’s agricultural sector. 

Agritechnica, one of the largest agricultural machinery shows in the world, has just finished in Germany and attracted over 450,000 visitors and 2907 exhibitors. Agriculture 4.0 was front-and-centre of this event with precision farming, sensor-based data collection, remote and automated systems and internet-based technologies being showcased at the 2015 event.

Growth in the Agri-tech industry also made an impact at Europe’s Web Summit, labelled ‘the best technology conference on the planet’. Connecterra, a Netherlands-based agri startup, won the ALPHA category for its innovative ‘Fitbit for cows’ technology. Company founder, Yasir Khokhar, believes the industry can solve some of the big real-world problems through technology.

In another event, the CECE-CEMA Summit, agricultural leaders met in Brussels to discuss how driverless tractors and intelligent machines were completely changing the way land owners are producing, driving and using equipment on the farm. The digital transformation of the industry in Europe is seen as a massive opportunity and it is helping to attract major investment into the sector.

Dr Adam Ulrich, secretary general of the European Agricultural Machinery (CEMA), says that "digital technologies are set to transform the world of agriculture in the years ahead and will fundamentally reshape the agri-food value chain in Europe and beyond".

However, he said smart regulatory frameworks are needed to unlock the full potential of the industry. This is especially important in building stronger broadband infrastructure into rural Europe. 

Yasir Khokhar and Dr Ultrich will both be presenting at New Zealand’s MobileTECH 2016 conference. The event will be held in Rotorua, 30-31 March 2016 and will bring together the rural industry leaders, technology developers, innovators and early adopters from the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors.

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