Should we be Tech companies that ship meat, apples, milk? I run workshops sometimes for primary industry processors and aggregators. More often than not someone always says “So should we just be tech companies that produce and ship high quality meat, milk, apples” Or whatever specific primary industry product/food that we’re discussing at the time.
The EU has introduced the Farm to Fork Strategy which will take effect in the coming year. It will require that food both produced and imported have an environmental footprint analysis. Environmental claims were considered quite “niche” not even 18 months ago (a pre covid time if you can remember back that far). We now have pretty good certainty that something that was “premium” before has now become commodity, due to it being a requirement for the mass market in the EU. So, we as primary processors and producers need to be thinking about the next premium product.
This book which came out in 1993, by author Al Ries. I’ve always maintained that if we applied some of these core fundamental principles to the primary sector and the export markets we serve. We might begin to shift from volume producers to value producers. Have a read about the application and some examples of each principle applied to the sector. I still quietly think that if the Agri-food sector adopted the same ethos of “product ownership” as the tech sector, we’d have some wicked world leading products coming out of our backyard. I don’t think we’ve even touched the surface of what we could be producing to solve real problems or challenges or concerns for people.
The truth is the writing is on the wall. This is not some crazy Jetsons future that we are trying to predict. We are living in what was predicted several years ago. We won’t be able to effectively compete in common staple foods category for much longer.
Often, we don’t even know what our challenges or concerns are until they have magically disappeared. Nobody thought taxi’s were a nuisance until there was a better option. This is where tech can come in. To spot the white space before we even know what's a problem.
It’s not traditional Agritech, it’s not blockchain, it’s not IOT, it’s probably all of those oriented to a problem, which is how do we reproduce the sustainable outcomes that occur in short supply chains where transparency is high, over longer supply chains?
There has long been discussion that New Zealand suffers from low productivity numbers relative to the rest of the developed world. In crude language, New Zealand is stuck in the industrial revolution, while the rest of the world has moved onto the information age.
It is inevitable at one point or another for a company to realize that spreadsheets are not scalable. As a result, someone will be tasked with going through a procurement process to bring in the system of all systems to digitize and move the company forward.
How do we continue to grow economic outcomes, reduce environmental impacts, and improve social outcomes in the Agri-food sector?
Its no secret I was raised in early adopter “Hippie” culture. I often joke that it was back in a time that we hippies still needed to make money. That is only to point out that we’ve been “social enterprising” before it was a term. We didn’t have the luxury of taking corporate or government money and doing good with it. We had to build the good into our business models from day dot.
The hemp industry is long regarded as "the industry that never took off". Across the country there are big plans being hatched for hemp crops and their products: from food and fibre, to medicine and building products and beyond.
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