New Zealand’s agritech sector is vital to the country’s economic growth

AUCKLAND, July 1, 2022 – Technology Investment Network (TIN) has released its third annual New Zealand Agritech Insights report, providing a compelling analysis of the size and scope of the country’s leading Agritech export companies, as well as a pipeline of promising companies from Agritech.

Launched last night at an event at the Waikato Innovation Park, the report takes a closer look at New Zealand’s agtech sector based on data from the 2021 TIN survey results, including size and importance, major export markets, investment opportunities and a comprehensive directory of nearly 110 Pipeline Agritech companies – those with revenues of up to $3.5 million.

Agritech continues to be one of the largest and most innovative sectors in the TIN200, New
Zeeland’s 200 biggest technology “exporters”. According to the TIN 2021 report, it is a $1.6 billion industry, providing 11.4% of total TIN200 revenue.

“The report celebrates the hard-earned success and growth of the dynamic Agritech sector that leverages all the strengths of our historic reliance on farmers, horticulturists, aquaculturists and beekeepers,” said Greg Shanahan, Managing Director of TIN.

“The government’s multi-agency agritech industry transformation plan focuses on growing the sector into a stronger economic contributor and increasing exports of the most innovative and forward-thinking agritech companies,” added Mr. Shanahan.

The industry is dominated by the animal and plant health, data solutions and post-harvest sub-sectors, building on the international success of established New Zealand agritech companies such as Gallagher Group, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) and TOMRA Fresh Foods. Together, these three Waikato-based companies were responsible for just over 50% of TIN200 Agritech’s revenue in 2021.

“This year’s TIN Agritech Insights report is another marker of industry growth and, importantly, increasing levels of collaboration that will enable even higher growth rates in years to come,” said Brendan O’Connell, Managing Director of AgriTech New Zealand, the member-funded organization that promotes the opportunities and challenges raised by Agritech.

Key figures of the Agritech sector (extracted from the TIN NZ Agritech Insights Report 2022 and based on data from the TIN 2021 report)

11.0% of TIN200 companies are Agritech companies and together they generated $1.6 billion in revenue in 2021; 11.4% of total TIN200 turnover

TIN200 Agritech companies generated revenue growth of $118 million; 8.2% growth in TIN200

Total Agritech exports: $814.9 million (51.1% of total revenue)

Export growth: $49.0m (up 6.4% from 2020)

North America is the largest export market for Agritech (19.6% of total export revenue)

Average industry salary: $94,956 (average TIN200 salary: $88,005)

Average revenue per employee: $296,197 (TIN200 average: $243,570)

Investment in sales and marketing: $261.7m (up 7.1% from 2020)

Investment in salaries and wages: $511.7m (up 8.6% compared to 2020)

Investment in R&D: $115.6 million (+6.5% compared to 2020)

Average age of companies: 25 years (average TIN200: 28 years)

5-year CAGR: 14.6% (TIN200 5-year CAGR: 10.9%)

More than 5,000 people employed worldwide, including 72.5% in New Zealand (3,910 people)

Auckland/Northland and Central North Island are the regions with the highest number of Agritech companies (29 each); followed by Hamilton/Waikato (24) and Canterbury/Upper South Island (21)

Key insights on the Agritech sector (extracted from the TIN NZ Agritech Insights Report 2022 and based on data from the TIN 2021 report)

High-tech manufacturing continues to dominate the sector

New Zealand’s agritech sector is mainly dominated by high-tech manufacturing companies, which account for 13 of the 22 agritech companies in the TIN200. High-tech manufacturing companies, such as Gallagher Group, TOMRA Fresh Food and NDA Group, account for more than 70% of industry revenue.

Investment opportunities as the global economy recovers

Investments in the Agritech sector followed the trend of investment levels across all sectors – a sharp increase in investments in 2021 as the global economy began to recover from the impact of COVID-19 in 2020. Agritech companies in this report (TIN200 and pipeline) have received over $15 million in investment across 11 deals, which include both seed and follow-on funding

Labor Shortages Create Opportunity and Innovation

Domestic labor shortages and border restrictions have forced Agritech companies to turn to automation and data integration to improve productivity and drive growth. This has created opportunities for a range of technologies, such as cow clothing, crop health, and harvesting. The disruption to regular supply chains has also led Agritech companies to re-evaluate and streamline their approach to seek more cost-effective alternatives.

The New Zealand Agritech Insights report was commissioned by the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), a partnership involving the Department of Business, Innovation and Jobs, Department of Primary Industries, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation and AgriTech NZ; with additional support from ASX, Hamilton City Council and NZ Growth Capital Partners.

Copies of the report can be downloaded here.

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