ISPA Account

Technology and Science Innovation Investment in Our Primary Industry Sector

by Ian Yule
There are clearly a number of sources of funding for innovation investment in the AgriFood Tech space. Historically we used to consider the primary sector as being agriculture, horticulture, livestock and forestry, but we are now much more integrated in our thinking of farm to fork, or producer to consumer. Supply Chain and retail attracts over 3 times the level of investment compared to on-farm activities. Various mechanisms are at work at any point in time with a number of different funding sources, either private or public. A very good starting point to build an understanding of the investment scene is the AgFunder news website and the annual report which they produce in particular. The 2017 report can be found at this link.

As well as indicating the present level of funding and where that funding is going in terms of sectors, stage and geographical location. The report also highlights leading venture capital funds and AgriFood Tech Funds as well as highlighting some startup mergers and acquisitions.  The Agfunder newsletter can be found at: https://agfundernews.com/
Governments can also play a role albeit slightly different. In New Zealand for example the Ministry for Primary Industry has released a science road map to try and inform and identify areas of science which need support and investment. The road map was put out in recognition of the important role science and technology have in achieving economic growth and environmental sustainability. Eight science and technology themes are identified as making an important contribution. One of the additional targets in New Zealand is to increase the level of industry investment. The Science Road Map can be found at:
Non-governmental organisations can also play a role. The Australian Farm Institute have published a report on Enhancing Private-Sector Investment in Agricultural Research, Development and Extension in Australia. A synopsis of the report including its main recommendation can be found on: