THE future of agritech in Australia looks bright after the announcement that Perth will host the next AgriFutures evokeAG. conference in 2024.
evokeAG. is a magnet for agrifood innovators around the world, including farmers, start-ups, researchers and investors and has attracted millions worth of investment into the country.
Since evokeAG. 2019 the annual investment in agrifood tech in Australia has increased from $134 million to $369m in 2022.
evokeAG. is a two-day event which will be hosted on February 20-21 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and is the Asia Pacific region's premier agrifood tech event.
AgriFutures director Will Ryan said corporates and investors with billions of dollars of backing had attended the most recent conference in Adelaide, which had 1608 delegates from 20 countries, and he was excited for these people to come to Perth.
Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis said they were expecting upwards of 2000 people to attend the conference, which she believed would be phenomenal for WA.
"Particularly in a place like Western Australia, where we have a small population, we have labour supply issues, we have to do anything we can to innovate," Ms Jarvis said.
"I think for a place that is quite isolated, it's a game changer."
At the 2023 conference, Dr Ryan said they had the two largest investors in agritech attend, and more than $400 billion worth of funds under management available for investment.
There were about 60 investors, 40 startups from eight countries and 126 speakers - and Ms Jarvis was certain next year's event would be bigger and better.
Dr Ryan said AgriFutures were inspired to create the Asia-Pacific event when they heard New Zealand investors in agriculture were flying to Israel, straight past Australia.
The event aims to showcase that Australian agriculture is a worthy investment.
"It's about putting on a world class event that attracts the best in the world, and showcasing what we have here," Dr Ryan said.
The announcement was made today at the Whole Green Foods facility, a previous agritech success story who have utilised evokeAG. in the past.
Whole Green Foods chief executive officer Nick Stimatiou, who works in reducing food waste in the production process, said the conference was an amazing opportunity.
"We don't get a lot of the bigger conferences coming to Perth, but I think we definitely punch above our weight in WA," Mr Stimatiou said.
"Some of the work we're doing in oats, we know we have some of the best oats in the world, and we want to share that with the world."
According to AgriFutures managing director John Harvey, the decision to move the 2024 event from Melbourne to Perth spoke to the evolution of evokeAG and reflected the substantial growth of the agrifood tech community.
"There are a number of reasons why the West Coast will make a great host state - the proximity to South East Asia, its innovative farmers, a diverse range of industries, strong exporting experience and an established and vibrant agrifood tech innovation community - these are all attributes that will be critical in supporting us to deliver a world-class international event for our domestic and international audiences" Mr Harvey said.
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