Public Relations and the Ag Tech Revolution

Ag Tech was a trending topic throughout this year’s Global Food Forum, held on 28 March 2017 in Melbourne.  While agriculture has always been a hotbed of technology, new communications platforms and advances in connectivity have delivered unlimited opportunities.

With global food demand forecast to increase 60 per cent by 2060, Australia, a major food exporter, has a valuable opportunity to develop and use technologies that improve productivity, quality and yield, enhance sustainability, reduce wastage and aid farmers in making better decisions; not only helping Australian farmers, but creating opportunities to export to the rest of the world.

In a discussion on the ag tech revolution, SproutX CEO Sam Tretheway said there was an increasing number of developments in mobile apps, online software and programs that are already having a significant impact on farmers’ profitability.

One example of such an app, used by apple producers to keep their pickers accountable for the quality of their picked fruit, can help to reduce wastage, leading to improved yields and significant profits for farmers. 

There is no doubt that technology has surged into agriculture, challenging conventional practices and our understanding of what is possible.

Costa Group CEO, Harry Debney, said it pays to take risks with ag tech and to trial new and improved ways to do business, citing hydroponically grown blueberries, once considered an illogical concept in the industry, now achieving significant returns for the business.

While there are huge opportunities for ag tech in Australia, the industry also faces its challenges.  Lack of connectivity in some rural and regional areas and the much-discussed ‘data-drought’ makes it difficult for farmers to adopt these new technologies.

It is evident that Australia is standing at a crossroads, with the potential to become a global leader in ag tech not only by embracing ag technology to increase agricultural output, but also by developing technology solutions that can be exported to the rest of the world.

Public Relations continues to play an important role in informing the industry, marketing agri products and protecting the reputation of an industry that is critical to the future well-being of the Australian economy.

 

About the author:  Erin Mitchell is an Account Manager at Wrights and for the past four years has worked with Wrights’ agricultural team as a consultant to the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, which stages the annual Royal Melbourne Show.

Douglas Wright