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Sell-out attendance as Asia Pacific’s premier agrifood tech event gets underway

More than 1,300 delegates from 22 countries have converged on Melbourne for the annual two-day evokeAG. conference, which began on Tuesday.

The event is Asia Pacific's largest agrifood tech event, designed by industry to encourage domestic and international delegates to connect and collaborate across three important arenas; food, farm, future.

Photo: Official opening of evokeAG. (credit: AgriFutures Australia)

FreshPlaza is attending the conference organised by AgriFutures Australia, which will include plenary sessions highlighting new technologies, food markets, lessons on launching into international markets, and investment opportunities. But it is not just the national and multinational companies, the event is showcasing some of the new innovations and small players looking to make their mark on the sector. We will meet and profile some of those start-up companies on this website, throughout the next few weeks.

Photo: Kay Hull (credit: AgriFutures Australia)

In her opening address, Chair of AgriFutures Australia, Kay Hull told the conference today change is happening moment to moment, not over previous timespans of months, years or even centuries, and to address the challenges of the future, people have to be globally aware and be open to embracing a creative agriculture sector.

"Our vision for evokeAG. is to showcase, to inspire, connect and empower growth and opportunity in agriculture," Ms Hull said. "It is an investment in collaboration to establish a point of difference for the Asia-Pacific region. Together we can position ourselves in the global market. It's also about enthusiasm and optimism for a prosperous future. It's to encourage people to immerse themselves in the explosion of technology within businesses, research, organisations and on farms. evokeAG. is about collaborative thinking, and collaborative thinking to change the future."

Photo: Vegetable sensory dome in the exhibition hall

Ms Hull added one of the key themes revolves around the question of how to embrace the changing global landscape, and connect to the "expressway" of global activity.

"We have a hungrier world and it's a bumpier ride as we adjust to this globalisation," she said. "We face a changing climate, the transformity of technologies, and choosy customers. All of these are changing the way we produce, the way we transport, the way we package and the way we sell food and fibre to the world."

Photo: Kay Hull (credit: AgriFutures Australia)

Managing Director & CEO of Elders, Mark Allison says, fundamentally, what really matters to people in the agriculture industry is how the new development of technology will help address the key issues of productivity, profitability and sustainability.

"What agribusinesses need is right now is tangible initiatives, that will benefit a farmer, and optimise the overall supply chain from a productivity and sustainability viewpoint," Mr Allison said. "Any idea or innovation must be accountable and must deliver on a few key criteria."

Photo: Festival of Food at the end of the day

With the goal to grow the value Australian agriculture products to $100 billion annually by 2030, Mr Allison says the potential for major growth will come from beyond successful individual products or sectors; such as citrus, table grapes and value-adding.

"The real value is going to come from the big players, and ironically, it will come from off-farm," he said. "The increases will come from improving our infrastructure, in particular, transport capabilities nationwide, and the ability to get our products into markets across the globe, faster and a lot cheaper than we did in previous years. We must also see an improvement in telecommunications. We need to raise productivity levels across rural and regional Australia to at least comparable standards to those enjoyed by our major agriculture competitors; the United States and Canada, to ensure we are competitive on a global scale."

AgriFutures Australia also announced that Perth would be the host city for the third edition of the agrifood tech event on 16-17 February 2021.

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